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

Saturday, August 29, 2009


Last night I went to a six-hour crop and was able to finish assembling the programs for my daughter's wedding coming up in just two weeks from today! Can't believe the day is almost here.

The gunmetal metallic Prism cardstock I used for the base of the programs was left over from the invitations. To economize, I also just used white for the program pages. The dark pink and dark orange ribbons are her accent colors.

The first page is the ceremony itself; the second page lists the bridal party; and the last page is a tribute to the deceased grandfathers of both Dana and John as well as two uncles. We wanted to remember them on this special day.

And this is all 123 of them, boxed and ready to go in a few weeks!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A book for creative thoughts

Last week at "Hot Metal Mamas" we made a small book, covering the front and back covers with embossed art metal. We could choose any colored metal and any molds and wheels. We also used stamps and debossed our own handwriting on the metal. I chose the cream metal and afterwards wished I'd used a darker metal to better showcase the embossing.

Anyway, it's finished - here's the front

and back:

I covered the backs of the covers with a coordinating script paper and cut watercolor paper pages for the book itself. I did this so I can use this little book as an art journal and the pages will stand up to more media. It's all held together with black grosgrain ribbon.

It was a relatively quick and fun project.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Crop for the Cure

The owner and design team for the new store, Anthologies, (which will open in October - yeah!) had our first outing together on Saturday. We participated in a local 12-hour Crop for the Cure to raise funds for breast cancer research. Anthologies donated several door prizes and two beautiful albums for a raffle.

We also offered a make-and-take card (see above) for 70 participants which I designed. It had to be relatively simple and quick and everything was precut. I used three beautiful patterned papers from Melissa Frances' Thankful line. I apologize for the poor scan - my scanner did not like the lumpy ribbons! For some reason the velvet ribbon formed into the breast cancer symbol looks like the glue shows through, but it doesn't.

The coordinators of this 12-hour event did a great job and it was amazing to be in a room full of 70+ croppers, many of whom are breast cancer survivors.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Wedding Mode

Can't quite believe that it's only 3 more weeks until our first family wedding! I've finally gotten the information from my daughter for her programs, so am in the midst of printing and assembling them using the extra papers from the invitations.

Last night I got a call about the "guest book." They do not want a traditional sign-in book and were thinking of cards for guests to sign and write notes, advice, good wishes etc. But they couldn't think of a way to contain/display them. My wheels started turning and I remembered this extra tin I had which will be perfect for 4" x 6" cards. So I stayed up late last night making this simple container.

These are her wedding colors - the gray paper is metallic Prism - gorgeous. The monogram is the same as we used on her invitations, using a stamp from Just Rite Stamper.

Wedding #1 is not even here and plans are beginning for another daughter's wedding, probably next spring. I decided to make her a wedding planner - just a simple workbook made from a composition book to corral all the bits and pieces of information she comes across and to write down thoughts and plans. I had made one for my other daughter and she found it very useful.

Since she hasn't even decided colors, I used some fairly neutral colors from a Making Memories pack. The tabs were cut with a Stampin Up punch. There is lace (hard to see) to tie it all together and the brown stitched ribbon near the spine on both front and back covers folds over to the inside and hangs below for page markers. I hope she will like it!

Now, back to those programs!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Alcohol Inks

Tuesday I taught a class on alcohol ink techniques. These are the samples I used to illustrate the techniques, but the students didn't actually make the cards. The idea was to learn "everything you ever wanted to know about alcohol inks and how to use them."

The large punched circle on this card above shows the typical alcohol ink application of pouncing the inks on glossy paper. The stamp is stamped with Staz On. The sample below was done by just dripping the inks directly from the bottle onto the glossy paper - not very pretty, but as I always say, don't trash any of these pieces as you never know when they might be useful. Something like this can always be punched and that's exactly where the butterflies on this card came from - much prettier don't you think? To get the inks to spread even more, you can also drip blending solution into the mix.

This next card shows the look that can be achieved by swiping the applicator horizontally across the glossy cardstock and slightly overlapping with each repeated swipe down the page. The inks can be applied in lines to the applicator felt and swiped in one direction for a striped look or in both directions to make a plaid. Even the rhinestones on this were inked to coordinate with the colors used.

The glossy cardstock layer for this card was first embossed with the Cuttlebug (love this autumn folder). I then sanded the raised portion very slightly and applied alcohol inks and gold mixative. My favorite attribute of the alcohol inks is their transparency. However, when you add any of the metallic mixatives, they become more opaque. Hopefully, you can distinguish this in this scan.

When I want to add metallic highlights to alcohol inks, I much prefer using the Krylon metallic pens. I think these have to be my absolutely favorite all-time stamping accessory. They are usually available in the big-box craft stores, but in the art department rather than the scrapbooking section. The next card below shows the alcohol inks with the Krylon gold pen. First add a few drops of the gold ink by pressing the pen tip to the applicator felt (before adding the alcohol inks so as not to contaminate the pen). Then add the alcohol ink drops and pounce on your glossy surface. I think this retains more of the transparency and is a prettier look. To increase veining, add a drop or two of the blending solution to the felt and watch the magic appear. These pens are also very useful for edging cards and adding that extra elegant touch.
Another technique on this card is using a rubon before adding the alcohol inks (the corner flourish below). The rubon resists most of the ink for a subtle resist effect. To remove a bit more of the ink, you can carefully add a tiny bit of blending solution or alcohol to a Q-tip and wipe the rubon. Be aware that all rubons are not equal in quality so sometimes this works; sometimes it doesn't! In class we actually had one rubon that started to bubble and lift off. Here again I've added some punched pieces.

This card illustrates another resist affect. This time I stamped a background stamp with Versamark and heat-embossed it with white embossing powder. Once it was cool, I inked over the entire background. The embossed image resists the ink for a more dramatic resist than the rubon resist technique. Depending on the stamp image used, the resist can be bright white (with a bolder stamp) or more subtle as below with a finer-lined stamp. The embellishment was originally a clear holeless button imprinted with the word. Since alcohol inks work on any non-porous surface, buttons can be inked to coordinate perfectly with the paper.

And last but not least is my favorite alcohol technique. I'm not sure if it even has a real name, but it is an Archival Ink resist. For whatever reason, this only works with Archival ink and on acetate, not glossy paper. I don't know if it works with every color of Archival ink, but I have personally tried it successfully with both black and coffee.
Ink your acetate with the colors of your choice. Then stamp on the inked side with Archival ink. Immediately wipe the ink off which will also remove any alcohol ink beneath the stamped image. This will leave a distinct clear image.
Whenever using alcohol ink on acetate, be sure to turn it over onto your cardstock layer with the ink next to the cardstock. This will protect it and also seems to make the design much more vibrant.
On the card below, I also inked a clear Tim Holtz fragment for a coordinating embellishment.
Though they are porous, paper flowers can also be colored with alcohol inks. I wouldn't do this often as they really soak up the ink, but it's a good way to get a perfectly color-matched flower. Again, I used the inks to color a button.
Of course, alcohol inks can also be used on art metal, glass, plastic, beads, pearls, brads and eyelets, bling, rhinestone or glittery alpha stickers, "thickers" alpha stickers - anything non-porous. Imagine only having to buy silver or white embellishments and being able to color them to match anything! Hope you found this useful and have a chance to play with alcohol inks!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Frame project

Last week was "Scrapstashers" class again. This time we were able to use up random leftover chipboard letters - all sizes and fonts. We made this darling frame that almost looks like it is carved.

The base is an inexpensive unfinished wood frame from Michael's which was painted. Then various chipboard letters were arranged puzzle-like on the top. Once the arrangement was finalized, we glued on each letter. The same paint color was applied over the letters, making sure to get into all the nooks and crannies (this was the hardest part of the entire project!). When that was dry, a coordinating Distress Ink pad was swiped over the top, hitting the highest parts of the letters. And after that was dry, a final coat of clear acrylic spray was added.

As you can see, I haven't added a photo yet. Some students used chipboard shapes instead of letters and that was cool too. Everyone ended up with incredibly different looks! Fun!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Bottle cap Challenge

Recently my local art group had a challenge - to make something using the Jones soda bottle caps that were passed out to each of us. I was totally uninspired, but came up with this at the very last moment before our meeting.

This is Claudine Hellmuth's sticky back canvas which I tore to fit on top of a square advertizing magnet I had saved. I painted it yellow and then stamped Donna Downey's "inspired" stamp and inked around the edges with Broken China distress ink. I smashed the bottle cap in the Cuttlebug and attached it along with ribbon. Very simple, but challenge met!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Dream Canvas

Here's another current class. It's a painted and distressed 11" x 14" canvas topped with five mini canvases. This is a mixed media class incorporating several techniques including embossed art metal, grungepaper, fabric, paper, ribbon, inking and even a real twig! This was such a fun project to make.
Here are a few close-ups of the grungepaper flowers "a la Wendy Vecchi".

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Dream Canvas

O, the places you'll go!

It's been awhile since I posted some projects. I've been busy creating new class projects and I have to keep them under wraps until they're posted on the website. This is a new little car minibook album I made using the Dr. Seuss phrase for the title. It's meant to be a little keepsake of a summer road trip or even an activity book for kiddos while traveling.

I used the super cute Love Shack line of papers from Bo Bunny. There's also a sticker sheet which I used throughout. Since the pages aren't very big, I made some pockets to enable me to get more tags and papers in the book for photos and journaling. I love the last page - it's painted with chalkboard paint and can be written on with the chalk that's tied on - perfect for tic-tac-toe or hangman or other games.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Exciting News

If you've been reading my blog for awhile, you will know that one of my 4 daughters is getting married on Sept. 12. Well yesterday we received a call from our daughter, Kelly, that her boyfriend proposed to her on the first day of their trip to Sydney, Australia! He was very romantic about it all - even got down on his knee to ask for her hand in front of the Sydney Opera House in the evening with the lights reflecting off the water. We are so excited and anxious to hear their plans when they return. I just hope that we can recuperate from the first before getting too involved with the second!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Another Invisibles workshop

In the spring Create Joy taught a class showcasing the new Heidi Swapp Invisibles line of embossed 12" x 12" papers. It was so popular that we taught "round two" today. The projects this time were a "tea tin" from Maya Road covered with a strip of polka dot Invisibles paper and two strips of embossed art metal, designed by Tracy; a paper and metal covered composition book designed by Jaclyn; and three cards to fit inside the tin, designed by me. I'm sorry I only have photos of the cards to share.

These cards are very simple, as the focus was on using three media (other than Distress Inks which were used on the other two projects) to show how different products work with these papers.

The first card is sprayed with Glimmer Mist from Tattered Angels. I only used one color, but you can also use several together. Depending on the distance from which you spray the mist, you can also get different looks. After misting and before it is completely dry, you can towel off the excess, exposing the embossed design.

I used alcohol inks on this card. I also used the paper that is embossed with several border designs. Once the alcohol inks have been applied to the paper, it was cut into several sections to adhere to the card front. Alcohol inks are intended primarily for nonporous surfaces such as acetate, glossy cardstock, metal, glass, etc. When using them on the Invisibles paper which is more porous, it will absorb quickly and you will use more of the ink. I think it works best using two colors - when mixed you will end up with at least three giving a nice variation. Again, the embossed areas will resist the alcohol inks, but not as completely as with other media.
The third card is made with Perfect Pearls. Perfect Pearls are mica powders that come in a range of colors, including many metallics and interference colors. They can be used in many ways. For this card, a small amount of the dry powder was mixed with a small amount of water and brushed onto the paper like paint. It is hard to see in a photo, but there is a nice shimmer to these paints. There is no need for any further fixative - the water is the binder for this product.
So there you have several different ways to use these fantastic papers.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Patriotic Canvas

Remember this 3" x 3" patriotic page I made for a local art group swap? They were swapped out a few weeks ago and that night's project was to assemble them together on a canvas. Since I was unable to make the meeting, the gals painted my canvas and I received it about a week ago.

I arranged the squares from everyone on the canvas and glued them down with Zip Dry (love that stuff!). The canvas is 10" square and painted an antiqued brown. The glass knob at the top came from JoAnn's $1 bins. The center square was made by Trisha - she used a felt star and added all kinds of do-dads, including letter beads spelling out each of our names. Each square is so unique but they all coordinate well andI l ove how it all came together!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Vintage Calendar

What do you get when you combine Graphic 45 papers and Maya Road acrylic and chipboard? A beautiful vintage calendar. My friends and I saw this at the Crafty Scrapper booth (a wonderful scrapbook store in Waxahachie, TX) at the Great American Scrapbook Convention in June. I'm not sure if it had been a class or if it was a store sample, but all four of us instantly fell in love. They graciously allowed us to take photos of the project and we purchased the supplies to reproduce it.

Life happens, so we weren't able to get together to work on the project until this week. But finally the project is complete and I love it as much now as when I first saw it. The base is an acrylic stand that comes with 12 chipboard "pages." I think it was maybe intended as a calendar, but it could easily be used for addresses or even a mini album with photos. I like that it is freestanding.

Here is the front of the calendar on the stand. The only thing I would do differently would be to stagger the calendars on both sides of the chipboard piece so all the embellishments wouldn't end up on the right side. It's a bit "fat" on that side and lopsided. I bought the cardstock calendar pieces at the convention and liked that they are vintagey, but then I noticed that they aren't "real" as each month starts on Tuesday. I was going to print a real 2010 calendar and insert the pages on each month, but now I think I will leave it as is. I like the look and I doubt I will use it as a functional calendar anyway.

Below are the first four months. I like that the designer didn't make the pages too "themey" for each month. I much prefer letting these gorgeous papers take the stage!
Here are May through August. I am missing one thing - a black rhinestone oval to surround the woman on the June page. My friend located some, so I'm just waiting to get it from her. We didn't have the black glittery stars which were on the original July page so we embossed some black art metal with the new star Cuttlebug folder, cut out the stars and sanded them. They look even better!
And the last four months. I couldn't find a suitable clock or compass for September, so made one with a compass stamp, a small round gold frame, Glossy Accents and a tiny Tim Holtz spinner. The "diamond" accent on the December page is a vintage button from my button box.

Here's the back of the stand. I love that metal flourish frame and the metal corners, all from Tim Holtz.


Great news - the new store in Hurst, ANTHOLOGIES, now has an address and the demolition has begun! Nita and Tracy have just returned from CHA and ordered tons of new products as well as the staples to stock the store for the October opening.

Check out the new blinkie in the upper right corner of my blog, click on it to go to the Anthologies blog and become a follower/sign up for the newsletter to get all the info and news as it happens! I am going to be a Creative Designer as well as a Creative Associate for the store so my plate will be very full but I am super excited!

Great, great plans are in the works and this is going to be a creative destination like no other! Follow me to Anthologies...