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

Sunday, February 27, 2011

February Inspiration Swap

I host a monthly inspiration mingle on an online group where I post a photo to inspire projects for those participating. For February there were only two signed up, so we did a one-on-one swap.  Here is the original photo - it's a lovely pillow from the Z Gallerie catalog. (Not sure why it's so small!)

This is the beautiful tag I received from Jean in sunny Florida. The photo doesn't do it justice as the background is stamped and then covered in very sheer fabric.  There are tiny silver beads(?) sprinkled throughout.  The flower is several layers of the same fabric - gorgeous!


And this is the little canvas pennant I sent to her. I wanted to mist the background but didn't have any colors similar to the inspiration, so I mixed red and blue Adirondack Color Washes until I achieved a good lavendar.  I spritzed the background as well as the silk ribbon.  The flowers are various papers layered (used the Tim Holtz Tattered Florals die); coiled (used the Sizzix 3D Spiral Flower die) and hand-cut and rolled.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

New classes

We've released several new classes at The Little Blue House.  

Two layouts:

The first was designed by Elaine

and this one was designed by, surprise, me!

Here are two close-ups

We also have two new tag kits for the block bases that have been extremely popular.

Lucky - for St. Patrick's Day

and chalkcloth tags for everyday

And a new mini-book

Not sure if I shared this before, but this was the Valentine minibook I designed. It is now sold out! I love this book - I used several canvas pages (handsewn by me) along with an acrylic heart-shaped page and a chipboard page.  Lots of painting with Shimmerz, stamping and spritzing involved.

Check out the LBH blog HERE to see all the current classes we are offering.  We'd love to see you in one of our classes!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Wood Stamp Storage System

Over on the Little Blue House blog I have posted this week's Organize with Style topic - stamps! I promised to go into more detail on how I made my stamp cabinet so if you are coming here from the LBH blog, welcome!  If you have not visited that blog yet, go there first to see many options for storing stamps, then come back here to see my storage system.

I think I have tried just about every system for storing stamps.  Each time I am satisfied with a storage system, I then outgrow it or a new idea comes along.  I have been most happy with storing my wood stamps in 11 x 14" acrylic box frames.  When you take out the cardboard box inside the frame you are left with a great tray the perfect depth for one layer of stamps.  Here you can see part of the tray of my greetings stamps.

And here you can see how nicely they fit inside the tray.  I've never gotten around to doing this, but once the tray is filled, you could stamp each image on the paper below so you would always know exactly where the stamp should be replaced after using!

The one problem with this system is having them stacked several trays high.  When you want stamps from the lower trays it's inconvenient to have to remove the upper trays.

We moved and downsized about four years ago and when I was dismantling an old bookcase to throw it away, I had one of those lightbulb moments!  The upright sides of the bookcase were already drilled with holes approximately two inches apart from top to bottom.  Since this was a 12-inch deep bookcase, I decided it would be the right depth for the trays.  There was only one stationary shelf, along with the top and bottom, so I had a friend cut them down to a little over 14".  Once I reassembled the bookcase, I had a cabinet with an interior width of about 14.25", just enough to slide in the trays over shelf pegs inserted in the pre-drilled holes.  Not only is the bookcase much sturdier, it is perfect for 25 stamp trays!

Here is a photo of the inside without the trays.  You can see that I used every other hole so there would be space for the trays to slide in.  There's also some clearance above the trays so I can slip in clear stamp sets or the occasional extra stamps.

Here you can see a portion of the cabinet.  It is actually about six feet tall.

I've seen similar shelves for sale at high prices, so I am very happy to have saved this from the landfill and made it with very little expense! I LOVE this system!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Progression of a Journal Page

This was an art journal page I started way back in mid-January. I posted the first few steps then but never got back to finishing the page.  Actually, to be truthful, I didn't know where to go next so I just left it!  Now that I've finally finished it, I thought it would be fun to show the progress of the page from start to finish. 

This photo shows the beginnings - I used a large mask and two Glimmer Mist sprays over it.  Loved this.

Next I added a torn heart from a dictionary page for a focal point.

Here I've painted over the heart and added circles stamped with different sized bottle caps and pink and white paints.  Still liking this. And maybe I should have stopped here, just adding a bit of writing or a quote.

Next I stamped a line background stamp in black randomly over the page and decided to outline the heart with a charcoal pencil (not shown as I forgot to photograph this step).  I didn't like that - too dark -so gessoed over the charcoal.

Better, but wished I'd stopped before all the black!  So then I gessoed over everything to tone it down.

Then I added watercolor crayons in oranges and pinks to try to get the original coloring back. (Forgot to photograph this step too!)  Liked it better but it still needed more, so I printed out this great quote, cut it up and adhered it to the page.  I wanted to try an image transfer so I used glossy gel medium directly on the page, laid the image face down and burnished carefully.  Before the medium dried, I lifted the image off and voila - a not-so-perfect transfer but good enough.  So there you have the finished page - I didn't dare do more to it!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Artful Collage

Remember the sneak peek I posted of the collage I was teaching for the LBH Art Group a few weeks ago?  Well, this is how it started. 

A box full of odds and ends paper scraps

and a pile of napkins

 plus a paint chip from the hardware store, some light bulb packaging, security envelopes, Hershey's kiss wrapper, a scrap of a Chinese restaurant menu, tissue paper, a doily, paint, stamps and ink... can you find them all?

And here's the finished collage (8" x 10").

Everyone in class had fun and every collage was unique and fabulous!  I announced at the beginning of class that no one would leave with a project exactly like mine or anyone else's - and they didn't!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Organization - "Lotions and Potions"

Lotions and potions - you know, all those liquid products we have for making art - how do you store them?  This week the organizational post at The Little Blue House addresses this very issue.  

These are some of my solutions for keeping order with all these items.  I have several "Crop 'n Style" (Michael's version) wooden cubbies with various size drawers.  One has a large drawer with partitions (see below) and I keep my paint dabbers, Glossy Accents and Diamond Glaze, gel mediums, and "specialty" paints in this drawer.

Another cubbie has four narrower drawers and one of these is just perfect for my reinkers.

I love being able to recycle packaging and these baby wipe tubs are perfect for storing Stickles - 28 fit perfectly and they stay upright if you fill it.  When the bottles get low, I store them upside down so they are ready to use.

Years ago I purchased this handmade and painted little cabinet and it sat empty, just looking cute, until one day I decided it was just right for all those craft paints!

Here's a peek inside so you can see how many can fit in there.  There's still room for another layer on each shelf!

These are just a few ideas of how to store lotions and potions.  Check out fellow Little Blue House gal, Rhonda's blog HERE to see more ideas.  And don't forget to visit the LBH blog also - comment and you might just win a prize!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day dear blogger friends.  Whether you have special plans or not, I wish you all a wonderful day spending time with your loved ones.  Enjoy these vintage valentines.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Paper Organization

We are on our fourth week of our organizing series at The Little Blue House and focusing on paper - solid cardstock, printed papers and scraps!  Check out the two posts  on our blog HERE (scroll down to Thursday and Monday's posts) to learn more about getting your paper under control.  I can't add much to those discussions, but I wanted to share my successful and very efficient system for my cardstock scraps.

I use a hanging file system in a file drawer that is just to the left of my work chair so it is easily accessible. I found file folders in most of the usual colors and use them for corralling the scraps.

Let me explain my scraps.  Whenever I have used a portion of a whole piece of paper, I cut the remainder this way.  First, I try to get a 5.5 x 8.5 piece out of it (good for card bases); then I try for approximately 4.25 x 5.5 (card fronts); if I still have room, I try to cut one or more 2.5 x 3.5 pieces (ATCs).  After that, if there is still a scrap that is useable for punches or maybe a long border I will save it; otherwise the remainder is thrown away.

The card bases, card fronts and ATCs are stored separate from the scraps.  The scraps go in the file drawer in the appropriate color section.  When working on a project, I have trained myself to go first to this scrap drawer. If I can't find the right color or size needed, then (and only then) will I cut into a new piece.  This works really well for me and I do use my scraps!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


What are scraplings?  They are tiny cards, 4.25 inches tall by 1.5 inches wide, made from scraps!  I am participating in a scraplings swap and have just sent off the two I made. Can't wait to see what I receive back!

By cutting a piece of cardstock (scraps, remember) 8.5 x 1.5 inches and then folding it in half, you have the base of your tiny scrapling.

On this first one, I stamped a favorite friend sentiment on a scrap of new Hero Arts printed paper (a sample I picked up at CHA), colored the flower and attached it to the front of a blue cardstock base.  Since the scrap wasn't quite long enough, I added a strip of scalloped adhesive (not sure what this is called - it's very old!) and added some beautiful  PK Glitz glitter. Done!

For the second one, I added Distress Inks directly to a cream-colored textured cardstock scrap and misted lightly with water to blend the colors. I then stamped a portion of a detailed stamp with Staz On and added a small quote.

These are quick and easy to whip up and are great for trades or swaps.  They could be used for tags for small gifts or even a cute bookmark.  Try one!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Next LBH Art Group Project

Our next Art Group meeting will be this Friday - one session in the morning and one in the evening.  This month we will be focusing on paper collage and this is a sneak peek of the sample collage I made.  Everyone will be making their own unique 8"x10" collage on canvas board along with a 3D puffy paper mache heart.  

For any locals, there is still room in the class so if you're interested, contact the Little Blue House (see the blog HERE) for more information.

Also, starting tomorrow until Saturday, all papers and embellishments are 30% off ! We have to make room for all the new orders from CHA which will be arriving shortly!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

CHA make-n-takes and giveaways

There were so many make-n-takes, demos and giveaways at CHA.  I wasn't able to do many as we were only there two days for checking out all the new products to order for the store, but I did manage a few.

This fabric flower pin was from Hero Arts - it's one of their new flower stamps stamped on patterned fabric. 

This was a giveway at one booth (can't remember which, but it was a quilling company).  Apologies for the out-of-focus photo but these are the tiniest, sweetest roses nested inside a one-inch pendant.

I made this necklace at the Ideaology booth using many of Tim Holtz's new charms.  I just noticed that the typewriter key with my initial is missing!  We used his new drill punch to make the hole in the wing charm and his jump rings to attach everything to the chain. I love his jump rings as you can open them with your fingers - no need for pliers.

This is a layered paper flower, misted generously with two colors of Tattered Angels Glimmer Mists.  The scalloped and punched circles are actually die cut coffee filters that are now being sold in packages! I've been using coffee filters for flowers for years - too bad I didn't think of packaging them!  These great new papers are from Fancy Pants.

Another flower stamp from Hero Arts (I'm loving their newest release!). This is embossed in white on cardstock and the blue colors are all Perfect Pearls. This shimmers beautifully in real life!
 This little piece uses encaustic wax from EncaustiKits.  I've worked with beeswax before but this was even more fun with different colors of wax.  The black and white image is a transfer directly into the wax. I loved that technique and will be trying more of it!
 This darling banner was the Maya Road make-n-take taught by Lisa Pace.  This was the most generous one I saw there!  We were given an entire box of goodies including what you see here plus an entire tin of chipboard letters, two bottles of Maya Mist, more flowers, chipboard shapes and trinket pins, a clear stamp set and sticker sheet. Everything was pre-cut and misted except the chipboard letters.  These take the Maya Mist beautifully and don't take much to achieve fully saturated color.

 This is a sweet little mobile from Sizzix (? I think).  The bird shape and wings were covered on both sides with fabric and die cut.  The little clouds are die cut canvas.  The flowers on the wings are several layers of diecut coffee filters with a button in the center.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

More new products to be on the lookout for

These new punches are awesome. They go through metal like butter, making a tiny hole.  They were being sold alongside bottlecaps and accessories and they punch the caps beautifully (as opposed to a Crop-a-dile which has a hard time getting into the area to punch and scrunches the cap if you do manage to punch it).  These are great for all kinds of metal parts for jewelry.

 This is a new tape gun from Xyron. They designed it to fit a woman's hand and is lightweight.  It holds 100 feet of tape which comes in a cartridge (seen at left). For those of you who have been wanting an ATG gun but thought it too bulky and cumbersome, or those who can never thread the tape rolls, this is for you! It's even blue to coordinate with our Little Blue House!

These new border punches are from American Craft.  The green "boxes" are interchangeable borders which fit into the center of the border base.  The box also holds two small pieces that fit into the base on either side for matching up the design when punching.  The base comes with one punch and other borders are available separately.  Great idea if you lack storage space!

Plaid has come out with this great glue gun accessory kit.  It includes a nonstick mat, tweezers, a pencil-type holder and three finger protectors.  We obtained a few of the "fingers" this fall to try out in the studio and they are awesome!  We suggested they sell the fingers separately for those of us who need more than 3 and they did hint they are working on it.  In the meantime, this set is really reasonable and a must-have for your workspace.