Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Grungy Monday -- Get Out the Tissues

This week's Grungy Monday is all about tissues.....Tim's tissue paper and tissue tape, that is.  The challenge is simple:  use either or both products on a project.  No other conditions or restraints.  So, remembering to be clever and multi-task, I decided to make a birthday card for my GM entry.

I started out with the idea in mind of using the tissue paper technique Tim used on tag 12 of the 12 Tags of Christmas this year.  Except that I didn't go back to review the steps.  I just plowed ahead, and as a result skipped a few along the way.  But no worries; my unintentionally simplified version works too.

I stamped the background with one of Tim's flourishy stamps, filling it up (using black archival ink), then covering it with a piece of the music tissue paper (using Ranger's matte Glue N Seal).  Since I skipped the step where you lighten the stamped images with Picket Fence Distress Stain, you can see quite a bit of the stamping under the music.  Which works for me.  I also skipped the wrinkling the tissue paper step as well as the cover it all with stickles step. 

To add even more tissue to the mix, the image I chose is actually cut from a decorative napkin, glued down guessed it.....Glue N Seal.  I covered her printed feathers with some real ones and added a bit of bling in the center.

The bits of sparkle around the edges comes from Suze Weinberg's Beadazzles (in Purple Rain).  In case you don't know, Beadazzles are a great mix of micro beads and glitter, and I stocked up on a huge number of them at a Ranger Warehouse Sale a couple of years back.  I don't even know if they are still manufactured, but they are a very cool embellishment.  And a tip:  after adhering them to your project, a light coat over top with....yep.....Glue N Seal, will keep them all in their place forever.

The birthday greeting was made from Jenni Bowlin's mini letter stickers.

If you look closely, you can see some of the stamping/music tissue paper through the image of the dancer, and I think that is very very cool.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Artistic Evolution, Steampunked

Almost a year ago my journal loving friends and I began the Artistic Evolution, another collaborative project that due to the varying sizes of the pages allows for some previous (and future) work to show through, and encourages an evolution from artist to artist.  For more detail about this process and lots of illustrations, click here.

A few days ago I received Val's fantastic book from Elena.  Val's covers and art are all about steampunk, and she requested that we stick with that theme if possible.  I love steampunk, so have no problem staying with it.

Neither did Elena, and her pages are full of gears, wheels, watches, and beautiful images from Graphic 45's Steampunk Debutante line.  My pages evolved easily from hers, and I took most of my inspiration from this portion of her work:

Here are my two facing pages.  You can see some of Elena's work behind the left hand page.  I used Tim's Weathered Clock die because it looked good with the gears from Elena's page visible behind it.

And here are the two pages separately:

I used DCWV paper with a steampunk theme for the backgrounds, but of course added layers of ink, stencils, masking, paint, modeling paste, etc. to what was already there.  I cut the Weathered Clock die from a background I'd made ages ago and never used.  The butterfly wing (yes, that's what it is) to the right of the clock is a stencil and I smeared modeling paste over it, then inked it when the paste was dry.

The steampunk gent is a Wendy Vecchi stamp on a coordinating art part, so it's very dimensional.   His hat got the patent leather look from Glossy Accents, and it is further decorated with a spring, a resistor and some watch parts.

Here are some close ups from page 1:


The second page has more gears and sprockets (mainly from Tim's idea-ology line), another art part from Wendy, some stamps from Oxford Impressions, and the edge treatment that the next artist will have peeking out from behind her work.

Wendy's watch art part was inked with pumice stone distress ink, then covered with rock candy crackle paint.  It was filled with various watch parts, embedded in a layer of Glossy Accents.  Some ball chain is glued around the whole thing.

My edge treatment is Tim's Iron Gate on the edge die, inked with vintage photo then covered with Glossy Accents (both sides, as both sides will show).  I punched small holes in the tops of the gate and strung thin wire from post to post, with a bit of spring in each section. 

As soon as I get to the post office, this wonderful book will be on its way to Lori in Missouri!  You gotta love a well traveled journal.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Rosette Snowman

Yes, I'm still here.  It's been over a week since my last post, but I've noticed that things in blogland seem to get quiet right after Tim's 12 Tags of Christmas finishes.  And I'm no exception.  What I've been up to.....working on collaborative books as they come my way, finishing Chanukah and Christmas cards, spending time with my mom, and trying to just sit down and create something for no specific reason.

When the rosette dies first came out I did a lot of experimenting with them and they really are versatile.  The other day Tim showed how to turn them into trees.  If you follow his directions for shaping the rosette you also have the makings of a sweet umbrella.  But that's not what I've been up to.  I decided to try my hand at a rosette snowman.

I used all the rosette sizes for the body, which was cut from lightly patterned white cardstock.  After assembly, icicle stickles were rubbed around the edges.

The hat was made by glueing several layers of circles together (cut from patterned black cardstock) for the brim, and more (smaller) circles for the top, finished with one very small rosette....made by trimming some of the width from the smallest of the rosettes.  Caution:   you really must reinforce the rosettes with tape before folding, especially if you plan to cut one smaller.  If you don't, you'll wind up with a handful of pieces.

The broom handle is part of a paintbrush that was no longer brushing, and the broom itself was made with twine and a whole lot of glossy accents to keep it all in place.  It is attached to the snowman with thin wire.  The "hand" is a bit of twill ribbon that hides the wire.

I'm laughing right now because in this closeup I think it looks like a chicken.  However, if you go back to the full body shot, I do believe it does resemble a snowman.  The eyes are just black cardstock cut with a plain office supply hole punch.  Can you guess what the nose is made of? 
I sacrificed the tip of an orange crayon for that.

Happy Chanukah, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year to all my friends in blogland!

Monday, December 12, 2011

The 12 Tags of Christmas -- Day 12

So, it's the 12th and final tag of Christmas for 2011.  Kinda sad, but I think Tim and Mario need those 6+ hours back each day, not to mention running all over Prescott looking for a signal when their internet goes down.  Thanks for the fun, guys.  Your generosity is beyond measure.

Today's tag features one of Tim's little faux frozen Charlottas.  You know, those bizarre porcelain dolls with missing limbs.  I don't have any of his version, but I knew I had a bag full of some I'd gotten on the internet, but when I bodies, just heads.  Even more bizarre.  So, that caused me to change up my design quite a bit.  One head would have looked a bit lost sitting on top of the artful dwelling that Tim used.  So I did a rosette instead.  Which would lead to another change, and another......well, before I go into all that, here is my tag:

First, I should mention that I did use the background technique with Tim's tissue paper.  What I added after the stickles was some weathered wood distress stain.  And under the tissue paper I used the background stamp from the Papillon set.  Much of this is covered with the tag's embellishments, but it is a really lovely background.

I don't have the decorative strip die that Tim used to make the faux German scrap, so I thought I'd try one of my border punches.  Varied success.  The first one I tried, a Martha Steward punch, didn't cut through the metal tape all the way.  My second choice, also one of Martha's, worked perfectly.  Go figure.   If you don't have any decorative punches, maybe you still have one of these oldies but goodies lying around:

That's right, decorative scissors work like a charm.  And if you want more detail, you can pair them with a decorative hole punch.  Here are some examples.  The first is the border punch I wound up using; all the edges of the ones that follow were done with scissors.  The one in the middle also has my tiny flower shaped hole punch.

A closer view of my faux German scrap (the metal tape I used was glaringly bright so I toned it down just a bit with some black archival ink):

For the letters, I did use Tim's tip of cutting them twice; once from the cardstock covered with metal tape, and once from black cardstock.  They really do pop.   And I discovered that if you attach your metal to textured cardstock, when you run it through your die cut machine the letters take on that texture.  How cool is that!  Good way to use up those pieces of paper with nice texture but hideous color.  You know, like that neon paper pack that was such a big bargain.  :))

I made a tissue paper flower, following Tim's easy directions, and it is so sweet:

Too bad I couldn't find a use for it on this tag.  Remember, I opted for the rosette, and it and the flower were just too close in size and shape, and looked terrible together.  So, I adapted another of Tim's tissue paper techniques, and using my trusty fringe scissors (yes, I really do have a pair), I followed the pom pom directions, but stopped just shy of  making the pom pom and popped the fringe behind the rosette.

I haven't figured out yet what will occupy my early mornings now.  Sleep, maybe?????

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The 12 Tags of Christmas -- Day 11

I was trying to keep up with Mario's tweets last night, and did manage to see the photo of the melting pot in Tim's studio.   Well, I can take a hint, so before I conked out for the night I was very brave, and pulled mine out of the closet, fearing an avalanche of art supplies.  I escaped with said pot and no injuries.

Later on, after reading Tim's blog a couple of times and watching his video on shrink plastic and UTEE, I felt ready to begin.  This is a technique I've wanted to try for a very long time.  Well, you know that warning, "be careful what you wish for......"    I'm just sayin'.

To be fair, clearly Tim was NOT trying this for the first time last night.  There is a definite learning curve, but if you follow the directions in the video you'll eventually get something.  If you don't have a melting pot or UTEE, you can use shrink plastic the usual way and you'll get a chunky embellishment, but it won't have that smooth, glassy look that the UTEE gives.

I used the two little snowflakes and the ornaments on my tag, but believe me I did lots more than that.  In fact, I used up an entire sheet of shrink plastic.  Some of the results are destined for the land fill.  One thing I noticed....Tim had no trouble releasing the still hot pieces from the metal tweezers he used to lift them out of the pot. UTEE piece and tweezers were united for all eternity, and I had to re-melt them again and again just to release them, which resulted in.....pieces you will not be seeing on this blog.  But I will  say that once color was added a lot of the flaws seemed to disappear, and I was left with only noticing how nice and glossy the pieces were.

Tim used a retro Santa for the stamped portion of the tag,  and I much prefer vintage, so I went that way.  I thought he needed a little bling, so I added some stickles and crystals.  And you can see how shiny the ornaments are.

The mini snowflakes actually came out the best, but then again, they were the last ones I tried.

Here are two that were fairly successful, but just didn't work on this tag:

And to leave you with a laugh, what follows is a perfect example of what happens when you ignore Tim's warning NOT to try to trim the cooled off and hardened piece with scissors. 

Bad photography aside, this poor little reindeer lost all four legs and a tail.  He actually looks better blurry.

Only one tag to go, and then what am I supposed to do at 3:00am???  And no, I'm not taking suggestions on that.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The 12 Tags of Christmas -- Day 10

Sob, sigh....only two tags to go.  But on a brighter note, my comment on Tim's blog yesterday was one of those chosen, and Mario is sending me a prize!  I won once three or four years ago, and let me tell you, winning never gets old.  Thank you Tim and Mario!!

Today's tag features facets and packing tape transfers with a twist.  It's a cool twist, and it results in pieces that have the look of old mercury glass.  Not that you'd know that looking at my photos, but trust me, it's a very nice technique.  Wait, you don't have to trust me.  Just head on over to Tim's blog and see for yourself.

Tim stamped his tag with a sheet music stamp for the background.  I could have done that.  I could have stamped any number of images.  Sometimes we use what we have.  And sometimes we use what we can reach.  Yep, having one of those lazy days (maybe the fact that finding out I was a winner at 3am got me so excited I couldn't get back to sleep had something to do with that), so instead of getting up and finding a stamp, I used Tim's text tissue paper, because there it was, right in front of me.

Other differences:  Tim used two large fragments; I used three smallish ones.  His hung from the top of his tag with jute; I have mine suspended from a tree branch on bakery twine.  I don't have the tattered banner die, so I made my own by attaching tissue tape to cardstock and folding it and glueing it until it sort of resembled the real thing.  Tim spelled believe with his alpha parts and dabbed them with gold paint; I used the word peace and copper paint.

I think it came out OK, though I don't love it as much as some of the others I've done.  Like yesterday's.

Friday, December 9, 2011

The 12 Tags of Christmas -- Day 9

Tim's tag today so inspired me, I did two versions!  The main feature is a beautiful background technique that involves double heat embossing.  Tim used traditional Christmas colors and the result is really striking.  I went in an entirely different direction.  First, tag #1:

I used a Hero Arts background stamp that I fell in love with during Jennifer McGuire's Inspiration Showcase class a  few months ago.  The inks I chose were old paper and evergreen bough, which gives a more subtle look than the vivid one Tim achieved with the green and red.

Tim's focal image was a candle and candle holder, cut from grungeboard, inked and highlighted with glossy accents.  I used one of the guys from reindeer flight instead.  I got the spots by using that technique where you flick drops of water from your fingers to the inked surface.  The deer is covered with vintage photo and gathered twigs, then glossy accents over everything.

The third element I took from Tim's tag was the use of lots of foliage, cut from varying shades of green.

The idea for my second tag came to me while I was still working on the first one, and I couldn't wait to get going.  It may not look a bit like Tim's, but it does incorporate the three techniques:  the double embossed background, the highlighting grungeboard shapes with glossy accents, and the use of lots of greenery.

The background is a Cornish Heritage Farms stamp of license plates.  I had a somewhat different idea in my head when I stamped it (an idea that didn't work), which is why the license plates are sideways.  I still liked the way the background looked, so I went with it. The sentiment is a Wendy Vecchi stamp.  The old car carrying home a Christmas tree was done with movers and shapers; after inking the car with vintage photo and black soot, I highlighted the tires and headlight with markers, then gave the car the glossy accents treatment.  When it was completely dry I attached the tree to the car with twine.

The house was put together with chipboard shapes I've had lying around forever.  The square was embossed with Tim's bricked folder and then inked with fired brick, aged mahogany, and vintage photo.  On this tag, the greenery took the form of trees behind the house.

There are lots of ways to do snow.  This is what I did here.....I applied some glossy accents (since it was already right in front of me) to wherever I wanted a bit of snow, then covered it with white embossing powder.  When heating it, the still wet glue underneath bubbled up a bit as the powder melted, creating some texture and dimension.  I like the way it looks.

Is tag 9 now my favorite?  Could be......

And now, pardon me, but I have to get on a soap box for a moment and explain one of the many reasons I adore and respect Tim Holtz.  He featured a Hero Arts stamp on his tag and is participating in a blog hop celebrating their new catalog.  Even though he has a signature stamp line with Stampers Anonymous.  Some stamp designers act as though their stamps exist in a universe with no others.  Some stamp companies do the same.  I have always felt there's room for excellence from many sources, and I so appreciate Tim's collegial attitude and willingness to showcase the talents of his peers.....and think of them as peers, not competition.  OK, soap box is put away.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The 12 Tags of Christmas -- Day 8

Ah, be still my happy Tim went all steampunk on us, and I love it!  Not for everyone's taste to be sure, but I have always been drawn to those industrial/sci fi images, and using them on a Christmas tag is just plain fun.

I have a lot of steampunk stamps, dies, embossing folders, and even some stickers and rub-ons.  I have gears, watch parts, all sizes of small light bulbs, springs, and other assorted industrial type metal bits.  Lots to choose from.  So, while I followed the general layout of Tim's tag, and did use his background techniques on the tag, I pretty much went off and used what I had.  And had a blast doing so.

Instead of using the gadget gears die, I chose the steampunk on the edge die and attached it to the right side of the tag.  It was cut from grungeboard, pounced with gold and copper paint, then distressed and sanded and covered with both walnut stain and black soot distress inks.  Some of Tim's idea-ol-ogy pieces were attached to the top.

Tim's steampunk set includes a stamp of three men.  Since I don't have it, I used the stamps I do have, from Oxford Impressions.  I added a little something to one of the guys to put him in the right holiday spirit.

The santa hat was cut freehand from a scrap of grungeboard and covered with.....are you ready?.....flock.  Yep, good old flock.  I'm sure I haven't used any in years, but when it came out and was all the rage, I must have bought it in every color.  The other fella's hat was covered with glossy accents and he has some holly (mini movers and shapers die) and berries (stickles) on it.  Both gents have stickled bowties.  As for what's on the bottom.....I raided my steampunk box (yes, I have one) and came up with some springs and an odd looking piece (in between the two springs) and attached them all together with brads.

Tim's tag has a ticket with a pointing hand, letters made shiny with glossy accents, and one of his miniature lightbulbs as an accent.  Here's how I put some of those elements together:

I used the Merry Christmas ticket stamp from Tim's odds and ends set.  It doesn't show up very well, but the number 25 got the glossy accents treatment.  The bit of chain is held onto the ticket with staples (Tim's tiny attacher), and a miniature (decorative only) light swings from the end of the chain along with one of Tim's lightbulbs.  I used a pointing hand stamp (one of Wendy Vecchi's) a bit differently too.  It is on a memo pin, which was stuck behind the santa hat.

I love Tim's tag, and I'm thrilled with my version.  But if you don't love steampunk you probably won't much like either.  Me, I'm as happy as can be.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The 12 Tags of Christmas -- Day 7

Today's tag features kraft glassine paper, and Tim has included a video that demonstrates all the ways this product can be used.  Like many of you out there, I bought it when it first came out but haven't used it much.  Now that I have a better idea of how versatile it is, I'm sure I'll be including it in more projects.  Today we made holly leaves and colored them with alcohol inks.

Tim cut his leaves with a die, which I don't have.  However, holly leaves are very easy to cut freehand, and that's just what I did.  On Tim's tag, the sentiment was part of a very beautiful and elegant stamp with a lovely frame surrounding the words.  Again, not something I own.  I used the stamp (from Tim's mini ornates set) that is blank on the inside.  I had a few holiday sentiment stamps that fit inside, and used holiday cheer, which is a Stampin' Up stamp that is several years old and I'm sure retired ages ago.  I think the two stamps look like they were made for each other.

My holly berries are just some random "pearls" from my stash of dead and dying costume jewelry, and like Tim, I colored them with red pepper alcohol ink.  I did the same for the bauble on the top of the tag, and added some red crystals, putting them on a trinket pin.

Here are some closeups:

As for the background of the tag itself, I used the techniques Tim demonstrated, but selected different colors and stamps.

We're more than half way finished, and I'm already looking forward to tag #8.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The 12 Tags of Christmas -- Day 6

The tag Tim did for today features embossed metal, painted and distressed and very vintage looking.  Tim used one embossing folder for his tag (one I don't have), and I used three folders.  I cut them into sections to create the collage look of the folder Tim used.

I used the holiday, snowflakes and sheet music folders.  This tag was not difficult to do, but it does
involve some drying time.  Also, as Tim states clearly, after painting the metal you will most likely think that your tag is a hot mess.  Don't be alarmed.  The following steps really do make it all work.  I think it's a wonderful look.

The embellishment (I don't have any of the Christmas charms) started life as a truly ugly overly bright piece of thin cheap metal.  Applying the paint and embossing it really transformed it.

By the way, Tim used Ranger's self adhesive foil.  I used metal from Ten Seconds Studio.  But......if you have neither, this is what I used to do before I had any metal sheets.  Adhere some heavy duty aluminum foil to your cardstock and then proceed as directed.  As long as you are a bit gentle with your sanding you won't tear the foil and it is a good substitute for the real thing.

Monday, December 5, 2011

The 12 Tags of Christmas -- Day 5

When I clicked on Tim's blog early this morning, my first reaction upon seeing today's tag was an actual, audible "wow!"  It is very graphic and modern looking, and really makes a statement.  I'm sure you've seen it already, but if by chance you stumbled upon this blog first, do go and look at it now.  Plus, there's a great video in which Tim explains all the cool ways to use his reflections stamps (you know, the ones that are backwards and probably had you scratching your head the first time you saw them).  Yep, today's tag features those stamps, alcohol inks, glossy cardstock, and a tag cut from thick plastic.  Are you ready? 

Tim covered the plastic tag with several alcohol inks in the red family.  I used blues.  He used the Christmas reflections stamp from the seasonal set.  I only have the original reflections, so I opted for the script stamp, and used it on an angle in the center, leaving room to stamp the snowflakes above and below the script.  This is what the tag looks like mounted on glossy white cardstock, after doing the technique:

I think you can see the script, and the snowflakes really show up.  I had lots of trouble the first time I attempted this technique a year or so ago, but it went well this morning.  Here's a closer look:

For the focal image, Tim created a beautiful and very dimensional wreath using the foliage from his Regal Crest die.  Of course I wanted to do something different, and besides, I didn't think the wreath would work as well with my background.  I had that pack of seasonal grungeboard on my table, and decided to use the elegant reindeer instead.   It was painted with a pearl paint dabber, and I did cut some leaves from the Royal Crest die to give him a blinged out scarf.  And here is the finished tag:

I have to say that I'm very happy with my version, because while it doesn't look a bit like Tim's, it does incorporate the wonderful techniques he featured.  This might be my favorite so far.....probably until tomorrow, that is.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The 12 Tags of Christmas -- Day 4

The tag Tim created today is (like all the rest) full of doable techniques, and as usual, I wanted my tag to include them all, yet look different.  Tim's focal image was his snowman die, cut from grungeboard.  I couldn't find a Christmas themed die amongst my many that would also take a movers and shapers die cut into it, but then I remembered my package of seasonal grunge shapes.  The two large ornaments seemed a good substitution.

Other than changing up the images and colors, I followed Tim's instructions for all the techniques.  I used the following distress stains on the background:  picket fence, peeled paint, bundled sage, and forest moss.

The ornaments were covered with white paint, a thick coat of rock candy distress crackle paint, and then several stains in the red family:  barn door, fired brick, and aged mahogany.  Instead of using the tulle buttons as an accent, I incorporated them into the decoration of the ornaments.  The larger of the two had enough space to cut one of the movers and shapers snowflakes from the center; I just left the smaller ornament whole.

This tag, though not complicated, took the longest to finish because there was so much drying time involved.  Thick crackle paint takes a long time to dry, as does the layer of glossy accents that fills the opening in the ornament made by the snowflake die. 

I'm more than ready now for tag #5!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The 12 Tags of Christmas -- Day 3

Today's tag features the dreaded custom stamp pad technique....but dreaded no more!  I just knew I'd acquired some of that cut 'n dry felt so that I could finally attempt this with the correct material (one year I tried it with some foam material and that was a disaster).  Well, acquiring it and finding it are two different animals, and wherever I buried the stuff, it has decided to remain there.  I did, however, find this:

I either found this at a stamp expo or the Ranger warehouse sale, and it contains the same felt Tim used, uninked and in a nice stamp case.  However, it is way smaller than I'd like.  But we do what we can with what we have.  I would ordinarily use a different stamp than Tim, but honestly, the one he used is the only one I have that coordinates with an embossing folder, so I went with that one.  Here's how the stamp pad looked after it was stamped and colored with the distress re-inkers:

Pretty terrible, huh?  But amazingly, it works, and produced this tag:

Since my custom stamp pad was too small to cover much of the tag I restamped a few times, and by some miracle I did wind up with enough words in the right location to then run it through the coordinating embossing folder.  I think it was an accident that I was able to emboss the top part of my tag, just as Tim did, but at least it was a happy accident.  After all that, I sprayed the whole thing with Perfect Pearls mist in perfect pearl, so it didn't add any color, just a very nice shimmer, which you may see better in this close up:

I don't have the dies Tim used to cut all the fabulous winter foliage for his tag, but I used his kraft core paper to cut leaves and branches from the dies I do have, in many shades of green.  I also threw in a leftover pinecone from the first tag.  My berries started out as white flat back pearls, and I colored them red with an alcohol based marker (because my alcohol inks were under too many things to get at without the possibility of an avalanche).

Now that I see how really easy making a custom stamp pad is, I am definitely going to either find the felt I'm sure I have or just get some more.

Besides this tag and several other great techniques, Tim's post today features a video clip from an appearance on the old Carol Duvall show, where he demonstrates making a custom stamp pad.  I loved Carol's show, and it was there that I was first discovered Tim, and it was such fun watching it again, so make sure you hop over to his blog if you haven't already.