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

Thursday, April 26, 2007

I won!

I just found out I won the April Style Try drawing on http://www.zneart.com! This site showcases a specific style each month and April's style was "shabby chic." A special gallery is set up for each Style Try and everyone who posts artwork that month is entered into a drawing for a prize which relates to the style of the month. I posted the one of the projects I had made for the Design Team April challenge and a tag. And I've won four beautiful collage sheets from www.enchantedmercantile.com. (Check out their website as they have wonderful images.) This is so exciting as I rarely win anything!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Charm Bracelet

Here's my finished funky chunky (sounds like Ben & Jerr's ice cream!) charm bracelet. I love it! It makes wonderful sounds when you move. I used the "Naked Jewelry" bracelet from 7Gypsies.

Masculine Cards

Tonight my local stamp group had our monthly meeting and we had a "masculine card shoebox swap". We each designed a masculine card and then assembled all the materials and tools to make the card in a box. We then rotated the boxes so that each of us had an opportunity to make one of each card. There were five of us and we returned home with five wonderful masculine cards for the men in our lives.

This first card is mine - I used a Paper Artsy stamp stamped in brown ink on white cardstock and then stippled with turquoise ink. This was then layered on a distressed brown background and adhered to a turquoise card stamped around the edges with a texture stamp.

Here are the other four designed by Christine, Cathy, Mette and Julie. (I hope you gals don't mind me sharing!)

Monday, April 23, 2007

Handcarved Stamps

After spending most of last week organizing the charm swap, I hope to now post more on the blog and to play a little.

Today I carved some stamps. I have always wanted to try this and was amazed at how easy it turned out to be. I used those really inexpensive pink erasers (remember those from school days?) and an Exacto knife. I drew a design on paper and then "colored" the solid areas in very heavily with the pencil lead. Then I turned the design right side down on the eraser and rubbed well with my fingers. (You can also do this with a fresh photocopy, laying the inked side on the eraser and rubbing with acetone or nail polish remover.) This transfers the lead to the eraser surface.

Then I carefully cut around the black areas (these will become the raised areas of your stamp and, thus, the design it will stamp) and cut away excess eraser. I found it easiest to chip away at the eraser with small cuts. The main "rule" is to not undercut (angling your knife toward the underside of the design) - you will not get good impressions from the stamp if you do.

I was surprised that the straight lines were actually harder to carve than the curves!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Charm Swap is Postal

Finally! I have sorted through the 256 charms received for the swap I'm hosting and have divided them into the 16 packages for the swap participants. They are now mailed and the swap is officially completed! Whew! The picture above is of my worktable with the piles of charms. This was alot of fun, but I'm also relieved that it is over. Below are all the charms I received.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Charm Swap

I am hosting a charm swap with 16 participants. Each of us has to make 16 identical (or nearly identical) charms for swapping with the others. I have finally finished mine and the last ones to come in the mail arrived today.

I decided to make one-inch soldered charms - not sure what I was thinking as I've never soldered before! But the soldering iron and I finally came to terms and I've posted a photo of my finished charms. The photo isn't the best as no matter what I did, I got a glare from the glass. Tomorrow I will be swapping these out and will post photos of the others.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Scrapbook class

I've been a bit busy this past week so haven't gotten much art done. I started a new job (haven't worked since 1974 when my first little one was born!) working part-time at a local scrapbook/stamping store. I love it so far, but it's been an adjustment and I've got alot to learn about retail!

Yesterday I took a day long class with a friend making a "Graduate Scrapbook in a Day." This was very intense and fast-paced as we had 6 hours to make both back and front covers plus a page for each letter of the alphabet! Luckily, all the paper was cut to size or we wouldn't have gotten nearly as much done as we did. As it was, we went to my house afterwards and spent another 5 hours adding all the embellishments and ribbons and it's still not finished! The book was made with the new Go West Studios acrylic spiral "journey" album and is a beautiful memento for that special graduate. Unfortunately, it's not mine to keep - my friend has two sons she needed these for so I was there to make the second one for her. It was worth it to me to spend precious time with a friend doing something we both love. Oh, I forgot to say I've never made a scrapbook before!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Antique lace tag

A friend shared some antique lace with me that belonged to her grandmother (her mother is 100 years old, so this is old stuff!). To thank her, I made this tag and used two pieces of the lace. I layered two patterned papers on a distressed tag which I edged with gold. The "photo" is actually a stamp from Repeat Impressions. (I love these realistic photo stamps.) I also added buttons and tied tiny lace trims through the tag. I thought she could remove the photo stamp and add a photo of her grandmother.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Design Team Collage

I've finished my second ZNE Design Team challenge for April. Whoopee!
I'm so glad to be technically finished. Of course, we can always make more than the required two art pieces, but now the "pressure" is off. I am having a ball doing this.

This is a 5" x 7" collage done on cardstock. The background is a copy of a railroad repair receipt and patterned paper. The bird is from the ZNE Little Ones #1 Collage Sheet. The eggs were cut from a catalog and stamped. The baby is from the Internet and the real antique lace was attached at the top with zigzag machine stitching.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Homemade Spray Color Washes

Today was playtime! I have wanted to experiment with the new color washes that lots of companies are coming out with. (Color Mists by Outside the Margins, Adirondack Color Wash by Ranger Ink, Starburst Stains by Lindy's Stamp Gang, Radiant Rain by Luminarte are a few.) After reading some discussion on making homemade color washes, today I tried making some with Marvy dye reinkers I had on hand.

My basic "recipe" was about 10 drops of reinker in a small mister bottle and about one-third to half full of water. I used Orchid, Oriental Blue and Ochre because that's what I had! I experimented with regular cardstock, glossy cardstock, watercolor paper, dryer sheets, baby wipes and paper towels (these were under the other papers while spraying and came out as nice as the papers).

Here are my results. The top photo is a dryer sheet. Below that is a baby wipe. If you look closely you will see faint outlines of lambs!
The next two pictures are of the paper towels that were underneath the papers when I was spraying.

The two samples on the left are glossy cardstock; the two on the right are on regular cardstock; and the last three are on watercolor paper.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Vellum Backgrounds

I love techniques! Some days when I don't feel particularly creative, I still need to do something artsy. So I like to play with different techniques and just make random backgrounds. The monthly technique on the Creative Cards Yahoo group for April is backgrounds made with Marvy metallic markers on vellum. Here are four results from my recent attempt at this. A short tutorial follows.

Supplies needed:
Marvy metallic markers - 2-3 colors
non-stick craft sheet
scrap paper to lay finished papers on
heat gun
spray bottle with water
rubber gloves (unless you want tie-dye hands!)

Cut pieces of vellum into manageable pieces. (I cut 1/4 sheets which will be a good size for card fronts.) You can use any weight of vellum. Lightweight vellum will probably buckle from the moisture and heat. My vellum was quite heavy so I thought it would do fine. As it turned out, it didn't buckle much, but rolled up! Weighting it down with heavy books has not improved it much. When I do use it, I will have to glue it down heavily or use brads or some sort of attachment in all four corners.

Take 2 or 3 colors of Marvy metallic markers and make several dots of each on the craft sheet. Do not let colors touch. The more dots you use the darker the finished colors will be.

Spray with water just until colors run slightly together. If you use too much water, all the colors will mix too much and become a muddy color.

Lay piece of vellum down over the misted colors and smoosh lightly (or more if you want more color and intermixing). Pick up vellum and lay on scrap paper. Dry with heat gun. Depending on the amount of liquid left on the craft sheet, you will probably be able to color several pieces. You can also keep adding colors, or wipe off and start over.

Weight the vellum under heavy books to flatten and use as backgrounds for stamping or other artwork.

Have fun!

Bedtime Story ATC

I've just completed 1 of 2 art pieces for my very first ZNE Design Team assignment. The image is from their "Little Ones #1" collage sheet. I used the dictionary definition for "read" as the background, stippled butterscotch, brown and black inks and adhered the image, a piece of specialty lacy paper and the Dymo labels. The ATC is layered on a mustard piece of cardstock. The due date is April 16th, so I'm feeling relieved to be halfway there!

Friday, April 6, 2007

Funky Art Doll

Who says art has to be elegant and beautiful? Sometimes it can be funky and silly. I am in a Thread Spool Doll Swap. We were given small thread spools and had to make an art doll using at least two of the spools. Here is my quickie doll. Her head is a stamped face inside a bottle cap; body is a photocopy on cardstock of a button card; arms are safety pins; legs are pieces of twill stamped with a ruler stamp and the feet, of course, are the spools. I can't decide if she needs hair...

Another collage

I made another collage today. This is for another friend's birthday - what is it with April birthdays! This is a 4" x 6" artist canvas board. I used Claudine Hellmuth's "peeling paper" technique from her first Collage Discovery Workshop book. Using gel medium, I adhered a page from the phone book to the canvas board and let it dry for a few minutes. I then burnished pieces of masking tape randomly on the surface and tore it off. Some of the paper came off, some remained, achieving a nice texture. I applied diluted acrylic paints sparingly. I stamped some random designs with a permanent black ink, glued on the angel image and painted the halo. I hope she likes it!

Thursday, April 5, 2007


No art for the past few days - I've been baking Easter cookies! Take a look - they are all so cute, I can't decide which is my favorite. Maybe the mama and baby chicks...or the carrots...or the eggs. See, I can't decide. I hope my daughter who's returning from college for the weekend appreciates these.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

First Design Team Challenge

I have received my first ZNE Design Team assignment. Each of us has been given a different collage sheet (sold in the online ZNE store) and have to make two art pieces using these images. My sheet is entitled "Little Ones" and has several darling images of little children. Now I have to create!

Stamps for a Cause

Stampers and scrapbookers are awesome people, always willing to help and to share. The gal on this website (http://stampsforacause.ginakdesigns.com) has designed a special stamp set to increase awareness of and to help raise funds for autism. Her new stamp set, called Love You to Pieces, is very nice and $8.00 of each set sold will be donated to autism. Please check out this site, as well as her blog, to see this set, lots of beautiful samples, and to learn more about autism and how this special fundraising effort came about. It will bring tears to your eyes!

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Easter ATCs

I've been making ATCs for a local swap. The theme was Easter and these are two I came up with. I embossed the background stamp on white cardstock and then painted with a diluted acrylic paint for the background. The scalloped strip is one of the new Papillon papers exclusive to Recollections with Stickles dots. The chick is a rubon from the same collection and the bunny was cut freehand from a book page and painted with chocolate paint. The egg tag is a Stampington clear stamp and the definitions were torn from an old dictionary.

ZNE Design Team

I've just been chosen to be a member of the ZNE Design Team! You can check out this awesome site at http://www.zneart.com . This is a group for artists working in collage, mixed media and altered arts. I do not know exactly what this entails, but I understand that I will receive collage sheets monthly and have to create at least two art pieces using some of the images. These will be uploaded to the website in the Design Team Gallery. Very exciting and just a little scary too! It will be great to have another online presence. More on this later ...

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Exciting news

Ethel Amutan has a wonderful blog (see link on sidebar) and posts a monthly challenge. The March challenge was a collage done with a photograph or picture and a found object. While I didn't win the grand prize, I found out today that I did win a sheet of unmounted stamps! Yay! Thank you so much Ethel.

I also discovered tonight that the same collage is posted as the homepage on one of my favorite Yahoo groups - Collage Cats. What a surprise to see it when I logged on. Double yay!

Lisa Vollrath's Countdown

Lisa Vollrath (Ten Two Studios) has great free image downloads from now until Easter. Check out http://countdown.tentwostudios.com. She only asks that you post a link on your website, blog or an online group before downloading. Great images - one set a day!


I am hosting a charm swap on an online group. It's a 16-for-16 swap and we couldn't use any "pre-made" charms. I made these charms using metal washers from the hardware store. I gold-leafed each side, then stamped a script stamp with Staz-On ink. I sealed them with an acrylic varnish. I hung a bead with wire, wrapped it around the top of the washer and made a loop for the jump ring.