"Art is my vehicle through life; may we share the ride together." Ron Wickersham

Friday, March 30, 2007

Completed Puzzle

My last piece from the puzzle swap I mentioned in a previous post finally arrived - it only took 13 days from Tucson to Ft. Worth (?). I am delighted with the final result. My theme was "faces" and everyone in the swap interpreted it so differently. Every piece is unique. I love it! The frame was a challenge as everything seemed to compete with all the details of the pieces. I finally settled on a light brown stain overstamped with a slightly darker brown. The back is just covered with a patterned paper that I thought went well with both the theme and the color scheme. I am now proudly displaying this on an easel!

Cuttlebug Cards

I finally made some cards from the cardstock that I had "cuttlebugged" several days ago. The red heart card is actually white cardstock that I swiped with red chalk ink. The coppery Happy Birthday card is a piece of copper paper. I "painted" the black happy with a black Sharpie.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

5 x 5 Collage

I finished this collage today. It's 5" x 5" on masonite board. It's a birthday gift for a very dear friend. I'm also entering it in a collage challenge contest on another blog.

I first gessoed the board and then attached a piece of Tyvek paper I had stamped beforehand. I had a scrap left which I've also scanned. (This is a technique on Mary Jo McGraw's DVD where you ink Tyvek with several colors of dye ink and then overstamp with black permanent. Tyvek is the material that priority envelopes are made of - I recycle envies we receive, but you can also purchase this.)

I scraped on pink and blue acrylic paints with the edge of a credit card, then stamped different designs in Memories black permanent ink. I adhered a butterfly sticker, the image of two girls from the Internet, a crown cut from a page of an old book and two real postage stamps with gel medium. I added three turquoise Stickles dots on the points of the crown.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Finally - my inchies!

After trying for several days, I was finally able to post the picture of my own 25 inchies I made for the swap I previously mentioned (see March 21). These are all 1.5 inches square and include stamping, images and words. See how I displayed those inchies I received in the other blog post.
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I love challenges. They pose certain limitations within which you must create and force you to focus on specific items. Here are a few cards I've made for a "stamping only" challenge . I used the grid technique for these where you mask off different sections, stamp and stipple, then move to another section and do the same. This is a simple way of achieving an intricate-looking collage. This is one I made for a "no adhesive" challenge. You can see I used many different attachment methods: paper clips, staples, office file paper fastener, brads and string.

For this, I adhered a paper napkin on the right side of the center-opening card and then stamped the floral image over it.


Saturday, March 24, 2007

My latest stamping tool

It's my scanner! I've discovered that when you scan a project, for some reason the details show up much better than when you look at it IRL. If something isn't quite right, it pops right off the screen! I noticed this when I was scanning a book page for a swap. When I scanned it, one of the elements I'd adhered was way too dark for the rest of the page. I went back and lightened it with a bit of gesso and it looked much better. So, from now on, whenever I'm stuck or wondering if something looks right, I'm going to scan it to decide!

Photo Stamps

I made this card for a challenge. We were to use a stamp we'd had for awhile but not used before. I love photo stamps and have quite a few. This one came from Stampsmith. Because I stamped it on glossy, I was not able to get a good scan of it. This is a photo that came out better but is not great.

Hints for stamping photo stamps:

Clean a new stamp three or four times with stamp cleaner and a soft brush to remove any film left on it in the manufacturing process. Be sure the stamp is lint free before stamping. I like to turn the stamp over and ink with a brayer for best results. Dye inks that are "medium wet" are best. You will not get good impressions with a pad that is wet or very dry. I like Versafine Sepia, Memories Art Print Brown, or Archival Sepia best for an old photo look. Smooth paper and especially glossy paper give the best impressions. If the stamp is not cushioned, stamp with either a thick mousepad or a stack of papers or magazine under the paper to be stamped. The more you use the stamp, the better the impressions will get!

Friday, March 23, 2007


ATCs (or Artist Trading Cards) are small artworks made especially for trading, much like the calling cards of the Victorians or baseball cards. There are only two rules: they must be 2.5" x 3.5" and never sold. Otherwise, any medium or foundation can be used. I've seen them made from paper, metal, fabric, shrink plastic, playing cards and wood. They should always be signed by the artist. They are great for swaps or for trying new techniques and ideas. Here's some I've made in the past.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Cuttlebug Fever

Have you gotten it yet? Online groups were buzzing about it - everyone had one or wanted one. I don't scrapbook or use die cuts but I do make cards. I usually prefer inking or stamping backgrounds. So I didn't pay much attention. I just don't need another "machine" taking up space. But then someone showed me how to use the Cuttlebug embossing folders and dies with a pasta machine. Well, I have one of those and it'd be great to use it for more than just clay. So, I have joined the masses and now own a few embossing folders and one die cut. Here's a mini-tutorial for using the pasta machine.

Cut your cardstock to size and mist lightly with water. Place inside the Cuttlebug embossing folder. Set your pasta machine on the widest setting (mine is an inexpensive Amacho and I used the #7 setting). Insert the folder sandwich into the machine (I did it with the hinged side first, but it probably doesn't matter) and slowly turn the handle. Since the folder is a little longer than the distance from the pasta machine slot to the tabletop, you will need to gently bend and guide it so it clears the table. If you don't get a nice impression, you can try using the next largest setting as pasta machines may vary. Voila! Cuttlebug embossing without the CB!

Cut a piece of inexpensive "fun foam" (from children's crafts department) the size of the die cut folder. Again, cut your cardstock to size and mist lightly with water. Lay the cardstock on top of the foam and then place the die cut folder on top of both with the sharp, cutting edge down (the shiny side will be up). Run this sandwich slowly through the pasta machine as above, again starting with the widest setting. And voila! Cuttlebug die cuts without the machine! (Usually the die cuts will cut into the foam. You can reuse by turning the foam but at some point you will have to replace the foam.)

I understand that you can also use the brass dry-embossing templates in the pasta machine as well. I have not done this very successfully yet, but will post when I figure it out.


Many online groups are swapping "inchies" - tiny, one-inch square works of art. I hosted a swap this fall, but the participants preferred doing them a bit bigger - 1.5" square. The swap was 25 for 25 and each square had to have some stamping, an image and either a word or letter. When we received the squares we also had to make a project to showcase them. This is a photo of the simple wallhanging I made with black cardstock and a ribbon hanger with the squares I received. I used black as it best enhances the varied colors. For some reason Blogger isn't letting me upload the photo of the squares I made. This was a fun project and not as challenging as you might think!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Just play

Patty Van Dorin of Tuscan Rose posted a challenge recently on her blog (http://ramblingrose.typepad.com/journal). She had cleaned off her work space and glued lots of scraps to a piece of cardstock. She challenged everyone to download the picture, create something and post back to her. Here is the original "scrap page" and what I came up with. This was a wonderful challenge to just play and not worry about the outcome. I usually spend lots of time mulling over plans of action rather than just letting the creative process develop. I spent less than an hour just adding paint and ink, stamping, doodling etc. If something didn't look right, I just did it over. I really enjoyed this challenge and intend to do more of this type work.

Thanks Patty for getting me out of the box. You can check out other's samples on her blog.

I started a local stamp group with some friends several years ago and we have now grown to nine members, including 3 out of town. Our latest project has been an altered puzzle. I saw these neat wooden puzzles at the Target $1 Spot with exactly nine pieces and decided they would be a perfect project for us. We each determined our own theme and altered one piece in that theme. Then we swapped the other pieces with everyone so we each altered a piece for every other person in their theme. My theme was "Faces" and this is my own piece above.

The other themes were: western; music; crosses; ladybugs; Dick and Jane; Asian; heritage (family tree) and friendship. Our swap is not yet completed so I will post the entire finished puzzle later. Here are the pieces I altered for everyone.

Monday, March 19, 2007

More artwork

I should be cleaning house - my local stamp group is coming this week. But, it's so much more fun to play!

This is a "scrunchie" background technique I've been playing with. Sherre on the Art Techniques Yahoo group came up with this and it's loads of fun. (Check out her blog - sherresartmusings.blogspot.com) Basically, you take a magazine photo or page larger than the cardstock you are using and wad it up. Run the cardstock through the Xyron machine. Open the magazine page and flatten on the sticky side of the cardstock, smooshing it down with your fingers. Then brayer it and cut off excess. Apply inks directly to the paper - as much or as little as you like. You can also emboss with metallics. I love all the texture you get. This one started as a photo of grapes and leaves and I haven't decided what to do next. I kinda like it just as it is.

This one is a finished "nature chunky book" page - 5 1/2" x 4 1/4" - for an e-bay auction to benefit Robin Whittemore of Easley, SC, who is fighting both cancer and astronomical medical bills. I added a torn flower from a napkin, some micro beads and letter stickers.

This is another finished page for a second chunky book auction, also for Robin, with a "tea" theme. I used gesso and inks randomly applied over patterned paper, stamping and my first ink jet transfer using gel medium. Actually, it's the second transfer as the first one didn't work and I sanded it off and applied a second one!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

My first photo

Let's see if I can post a picture. Oh! It worked! This is a 4" x 4" I did for a swap last summer. The image is from a $1 notepad from Michael's - I love this little face. I used several colors of ink on the background, glued on the baby and flowers from the notepad, wings cut from an old book and sewed buttons on with colored floss.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

The Beginning

I finally did it! I've succumbed to the blog bug and started my own. I've enjoyed reading other artists' blogs and being inspired by their artwork. Now I hope to share my thoughts and artwork with my friends, family and other artists.