Thursday, April 28, 2011

Buttons, A Ticket, And A New Dimension

Yes!  I scored a threefer this week, and as I'm playing catch up, that's a very good thing.  (I was in Florida for a week visiting my mom, who apparently resides in the land that time forgot, LOL.  No computer, and only intermittent cell phone service).

Grungy Monday #5 is called A New Dimension, and we have to go back to Tim's blog in May of 2008 for the details of that one.  It's a very cool technique that results in a niche.  Go check it out.

Simon Says Stamp and Show some......buttons.

And in the Wendy Vecchi yahoo group, our Making Art! challenge #11 takes us to Wendy's second book, and we are to create a project that uses at least one of her stamps and some sort of a ticket.

This is what I came up with, and it's all about my latest interest......things related to sewing.  Well, the button theme pushed me that direction.

I used foamboard (a 5x7 piece) and cut my niche as per Tim's directions, and covered the board with very appropriate sewing themed paper from his latest paper stash, Crowded Attic.  Inside the niche went a tiny vial I filled with even tinier buttons, and next to it.....I love this......I stamped Wendy's bottle stamp on a piece of her CFA (Clearly For Art), heated it and then bent it so that it's roundish, like an actual bottle.  Some more buttons were glued in the niche, and then the CFA bottle was glued over them.  Is that cool, or what?  A piece of lacey trim and a wooden button finish that side of the piece.

The dress form is from Tim's Sewing Room die.  I cut it twice; once from cardstock that I inked with stained walnut and edged with black soot, and a second time from some scrap grungeboard.  I glued the two together to give it some more dimension.  I also cut the torso part out of sticky back canvas, trimmed it to fit and inked it with antique linen and walnut stain around the edges after attaching it to the dress form.

The "ticket" (no, not an actual ticket, but Lori our EWV list mom said we could use anything that was "ticket-like,") is a stamp from Wendy's Fashion Style And Art set.  It's attached to a memo pin, and hanging from it is a little pair of scissors, actually cut with a Provo die....which, thanks to Tim's latest tutorial video, I now know how to cut with my Vagabond. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Marie Goes To The Dogs

I recently received my friend Jen's Marie journal and was briefly stumped by her sub theme.  Jen asked that we imagine ourselves to be designers, offering up ideas and sketches for the queen's approval.  Turning the pages in her beautiful book, I was blown away by the work of my artist friends, as they presented lovely designs for dresses, shoes, hats, gardens, crowns and jewels.

Not wanting to repeat any of those ideas, and feeling more whimsical than serious, I tried to figure out what to do.  My first thought was an elaborate cake, but that whole Marie/cake thing has really been overdone.  Finally a brainstorm began swirling around my head, and I became the designer Jean Claude, would-be dog groomer to the queen.  And I just had the best time with this one, fussy cutting and all.  First page, my fictional alter ego:

After much searching, I was lucky enough to find a black and white picture of a man in full period dress, but he was facing the wrong way!  Then I remembered the mirror function on the printer and voila!  With one click he was turned around.

I colored him with my portfolio water soluble oil pastels (love the vibrancy of the colors) then added some details with glaze pens.  Did I mention fussy cutting?  I'm generally a really fast worker and fussy is ordinarily not in my vocabulary, but I spent a LONG time with scissors and craft knife on Jean Claude, and added shading to every inch of him.

The background is a Tim Holtz paper which I further embellished with inks and embossing.  The column that Jean Clade is leaning on, is from watercolor paper I inked and gave a faux marble treatment.

So, what is he looking at, anyway?  Why, his creation of course!  The design he hopes will win him the title of Superior Dog Groomer To The Queen.

Now, a disclaimer....I would NEVER actually do such a thing to a dog.  But Jean Claude is another story altogether.  Let me assure you, no live canines were hurt or humiliated in the making of this page.

I used a photo of this gorgeous standard poodle show dog (again, very careful fussy cutting and shading), and dressed her rather simply in netting and ribbon.  The hair and headdress are other matters.  Blonde to match her owner, the hair was done with yellow flock.  I knew I'd find a use for that old craft staple eventually.  Gold leaves, little fabric flowers, feathers and stick pins complete the chapeau.  Final touches, a seed bead necklace and some glittery nails.  Oh, and I did have the pooch presented on a cake plate. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Little Trash, A Little Stash

So, this is the challenge:  make something with unusual elements, recycled items, or repurposed ones.  Hmmm.  Well, this is the trash I started with:

  • brown paper bag
  • tabs from Diet Pepsi cans
  • catalog
  • plastic packaging material
  • cork from bottle of wine
And abracadabra, this is what I wound up with:

First of all, I took that cork and carved a little design into it to create my backgrounds.  I stamped it repeatedly onto tags with black acrylic paint.

I recently had a nice meal with my friend Pat and we finished a bottle of wine. (No big surprise there.)  I took the cork home, knowing I'd use it in something, but didn't have stamp making in mind at the time.  But doesn't it create a cool graphic?  And on some tags I angled the stamp differently, resulting in new patterns. 
When the paint was completely dry, I swiped each tag with a different color of distress stain.  Instant and vibrant coverage.  Here's a closer view of one of the tags:

The soda can tab was glued to the top as the ribbon holder.

The rosette (Tim's new mini) was cut from a page in the catalog.  After assembly, it was pounced with some gesso, and when that dried, it got a spritz of color wash.  Now it's a flower.
The flower center is a pom-pom kind of thingy made from a strip of the brown paper bag.  I rolled it tightly around a thin paint brush, glued it together, then made several cuts from the top to just above the base to create that fringe, and glued it down with matte multi medium.

The leaf was cut with Tim's new mini leaf/branch die from the plastic packaging material, colored with markers, and heated for a moment so it could be bent a little.  I could have also used alcohol inks, but the markers were closer and didn't require moving three boxes to get to.  Sometimes I think this blog should be called Memoirs of a Lazy Crafter.

Some ball chain from my stash created the stem.

The lovely sentiment is a Wendy Vecchi stamp, cut apart so the words would fill the empty space on the side.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Grunge Goes Romantique

What do you do when you want to participate in all the cool challenges, get gifts and cards out in a timely fashion, but have a ton of other things on the must-do list?  If you're clever (as I like to think I am, or can be at times), you combine.  You become the master of the twofer or even threefer.  Like today.

For this week's Grungy Monday, Linda had us watch a video of Tim (what a chore that was, LOL!) demonstrating two techniques for using his texture fades (AKA embossing folders) and distress inks.  We could use either or both in our projects.  Over at Simon Says Stamp and Show, the UK Linda just said, show us a Tim technique.  Duh!  Instant twofer.  However, I need an anniversary card this week.  So, unlikely as it may seem, by pairing Tim with Graphic 45, I wound up with Grunge Romantique (Romantique is the name of the G45 line I used, not me trying to get all French and fancy).

For the background I applied bundled sage distress ink to the inside of the damask texture fade, and ran it through my Vagabond on pink prima paper.  All the images are from the Graphic 45 Romantique collection, and I cut some up, distressed them and put them together collage style.  The sentiment is from a Wendy Vecchi stamp.

As for the butterfly, that poor little thing went through so many changes, I'm not sure it still qualifies as using the challenge technique.  Here's what happened......first I cut it from Tim's new mini die set.  No problem there.  Then I decided to use the texture fade/distress ink method once again, and did, with bundled sage and the gridlock folder on the same pink paper.  Whoa!  Way too light.  It barely showed up on the card.  So, I edged it with forest moss.  Still didn't pop enough.  Then I covered the whole shebang with tea dye. Uh uh.
Finally, I gave it a spritz with lettuce color wash.  Bingo!  Somewhere, under all those layers is this week's technique.  I promise.

So, not the color palette of my comfort zone, but it seemed fitting for the project.

Anyway, later this week the card is going out to two of the best people and good good friends who just so happen to be married to each other.  You know who you are.  If you're reading this, just act surprised when you get it!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Buttons, Grunge and Banner

While that title could be the nicknames of characters in a TV show, it actually contains the key words in the latest (number nine!) Making Art challenge at the Wendy Vecchi yahoo group.  Wendy's original project (in book 1, page 24) was a card, but all you need to know in order to participate is that your piece needs to contain at least 3 buttons and 1 dimensional item made of either grungeboard or grungepaper.  So, though I may think you should have the book, you don't need to.  What you do need to do, though, is join the group.  So, if you have any interest in the art and products of Miz Vecchi, c'mon over; you'll like it there.  And no, Wendy doesn't pay me to say those things; I honestly love her stamps and art parts and they all work so well with the twelve tons of Tim Holtz products I also have crammed into my tiny work space.

I created a little canvas for this challenge.  It measure just 4" square, and I did enjoy working on it.

And here's why I love Tim's new distress stains so much.  It literally took seconds to cover the canvas with a perfect coat of wild honey (the sides and edges are vintage photo), which I then stamped with Wendy's polka dot stamp, using coffee archival ink.

The dress mannequin is one of Wendy's art parts.  All I did to it was ink the bottom a bit with stained walnut, then covered the torso with natural colored sticky back canvas.  I trimmed as close to the edge as possible, then used a sanding block to complete the trimming and distress the edges.  The word 'style' is part of a phrase stamp.  All I did was ink only the word I was interested in using.

For the grunge part of the challenge, I cut the spool from grungeboard with Tim's new Sewing Room die, colored it with antique linen and edged it with tea die.  Then I wrapped some fiber around it.

The measuring tape is actually an image stamped onto fabric.  I don't know where it came from, but suspect it was sent to me either with a swap or a RAK.  I sewed the buttons onto it and then glued it down.  Some hat pins (origins of all unknown, but at least one of them is from Jenni Bowlin.  Or Maya Road) finish it off.

So, if you're really alert, you're probably thinking, what about the word banner?  Well, not at all part of the challenge piece, but I just wanted to share another project I did this week.  I was at my friend Heidi's open house (celebrating five years in NYC as well as five years of creativity) on Sunday.  It was joining Heidi's Meetup group that started me on my papercrafting journey.  I'd been doing one or another art form for years, but at that point was mainly scrapbooking and taking painting classes.  One thing led to another, one Meetup group let to another, which led to yahoo groups and online classes, and Tim cruises and......well, one little click on the enter key substantially changed my life.  So it always pleases me to attend one of Heidi's events.  Our make n take was an art banner, done with coasters, and using plenty of Prima,  gorgeous 7 Gypsies paper, and assorted other bling.  Though I love it very much, I have already sent it to someone who I know will love it too.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Spraying and Distressing

I managed another twofer this week, which was easy as they are related.  Over at Linda's blog, Grungy Monday is all about Adirondack's color washes, and the challenge at Simon Says is to stamp and show some distressing.

I've been collecting and using the color washes for about three years now, and wanted to try something different.  It's a bit dark, but here is my project, a pin:

Both the heart and the hand are from Wendy Vecchi's art parts collections.  Here's where the color wash and distressing come in:

The heart was sprayed with lettuce color wash.  After watching a video in which Tim used distress stains to stamp, I figured I'd try the same with the color wash.  I sprayed a little (cranberry) on my craft mat, rubbed Wendy's polka dot background stamp over it, and applied it right over the lettuce.  Of course, unlike ink, it doesn't result in a perfect image, but it does have a distressed look.  (Get it, that's where the distress comes in).
I wanted even more distress, so I then coated the whole thing with some rock candy distress crackle paint.

For the hand, I first coated it with some white pigment ink, and when that was dry, sprayed it with denim color wash.  I'm not sure if it shows up, but I edged both pieces with a silver paint pen.

Then I somehow managed to make a hole in the thumb without ripping the whole thing apart, and dangled a heart charm from it.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

From Casa Azul to The Golden Gate Bridge

This week brought me not one, but THREE Frida Kahlo journals, and I've managed to complete pages for two of them.  As themes go, Frida can be a challenge.  Much as I admire the artist and the woman, her work can be disturbing and her life was no fiesta.  Having said that, the colors that evoke the spirit of Mexico found in Frida's paintings are brilliant, and the folkloric images are vivid and full of life.  Contradictions. 

Kate's journal has a sub-theme of Frida in San Francisco, and she requested that we all include some iconic image in our work.  I used two:  the Golden Gate Bridge and a cable car.

I did a simple background on watercolor paper with color washes, pastels, inks and mica sprays.  I then did a very loose sketch of the bridge and went over the pencil lines with an embossing ink pen.  Copper perfect pearls was brushed over that to give the bridge a kind of vague, through the fog look.  At least that's what I'm telling myself.

The cable car is a photo I found in google images, printed it out on plain copy paper, did some fussy cutting and a lot of pencil work to add some shading.  Diego and Frida were cut from a copy of one of her paintings.  I recall that Frida's father referred to the couple as "the elephant and the dove," so I decided to place that particular bird on Diego's head.  The cactus is a stamp.  Because Frida often included roots, vines, leaves, etc. in her work, I added those, and die cut them from a variety of papers.  Now, off to Casa Azul.

Janet created a portfolio style book, and asked that we include anything we think would have been found in Casa Azul, the home Frida and Diego shared in Mexico.  Well, I know Frida loved her elaborate folkloric dresses, and there had to be many in her closet, so that gave me the idea for my pages.

The title page:

 The blue strip was created by spraying denim color wash over a prima border stencil.  After it dried I went over the whole thing with faded jeans distress ink.  Then, of all things, I used a Stampin' Up wheel stamp of skulls over the top of it.  The area next to it is a collage of spanish text and sewing pattern paper, covered with a light wash of gesso and then peeled paint distress stain.  The wonderful letters are from an out of production stamp set, designed by Tim Holtz.  I love that set and am lucky to have snagged it when I did.

Whenever I'm starting a new round robin journal project I begin by gathering together materials I think I may use.....papers, collage sheets, charms, postcards, etc.  In my Frida box I found a strand of beads, handmade and of very colorful fabric.  I have no memory of where they came from, though I think someone sent them to me with a swap.  There is something very folksy about them and I thought they looked great highlighting the switch from the border to the rest of the page.  Plus, they echo the colors in the dress on the next page (that's me being arful and design conscious, LOL).   Speaking of which:

So, this is what is in Frida's closet.  For this background I did a series of the border stencils, each in a different color, by doing one at a time, masking off the surrounding areas.  Then I stuck some spanish text in between the border strips, and gave everything except the dark blue border a light wash of gesso.

The dress was created entirely from scraps from one of my many boxes of leftover pieces from previous projects.  The top is actually very fragile vintage wallpaper that I received as a RAK from my friend Angie.  I love that paper and have used it many times before.  The ruffle right below it was made from some paper towel that had been used to clean up after some spraying.  The bottom of the dress went through a few stages before I was happy with it.  It started out as a piece of sticky back canvas.  I covered it with a collage of text and then a coat of fired brick distress stain.  Then, using sharpie poster paint markers I drew a design similar to the one on the wallpaper top.  Some pom pom and bead trims finished it off.

The dress in on a wire hanger (with apologies to Joan Crawford, wherever she may be), and it is on a rod cut from a chop stick.  The lizard is a shrink plastic piece I did a while back, and I just knew it would eventually find its way onto one of these pages.  It was rubbed with embossing ink, then covered with gold UTEE before shrinking with a heat gun.  While it was still hot I sprinkled some beadazzles (a Suze Weinberg product that is a combination of micro beads and glitter) over top.

Now, I'm off to work on Maxine's Frida book.....with a theme of Day of the Dead.  Awesome!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Grungy Monday, Week Two

Welcome to another Grungy Monday, brainchild of the wonderful Linda Ledbetter, who knew she risked sending untold numbers of Timaholics into withdrawal when her Compendium of Curiosities challenges came to an end.

I'm very excited this week, not only because the new challenge is a great one, but because I am one of the guest designers!  So, you'll see my work here and on Linda's blog.  How cool is that!  Sharing that honor with me is the very talented Maggie Harris, so be sure to visit her blog as well.

For the details of this week's challenge you'll have to click here and watch a video.  Yep, you'll be seeing Tim demo a very cool technique, using matte multi medium as a resist.  If you don't have this Ranger/Claudine Hellmuth product (and it is, in my opinion a must have) I believe that any matte medium will work.  Also, you'll notice that Tim is using a stamp that he made by cutting craft foam with one of his dies.  He featured this technique on one of his 12 Tags of Christmas in December.  If you don't have any dies or foam, I'm thinking you can try this one with a manufactured stamp.....just make sure you remove the medium from the stamp before it gets a chance to dry.  Anyway, enough talk.  Here is what I did, a wall hanging that is roughly  6 x 7 1/2".

I did have a foam stamp I made from Tim's birdcage die (back in December I think a lot of us went foam stamp making crazy), and I followed the technique in the video, stamping it with the medium on sheet music.  After thoroughly drying the medium, the page was inked with wild honey, rusty hinge, crushed olive and chipped sapphire distress inks, which makes the cage really pop.

I added some swirly stamping, using black soot distress ink.  The edges of the piece are wrapped with tissue tape (one of the new ones....the one with the butterflies), and the grungeboard flourishes are from the elements set, already embossed with swirls.  They were colored with broken china and peeled paint distress stains, and then sprayed with a perfect pearls mist (heirloom gold + water).

The bird was inked with both forest moss and black soot distress inks, covered with clear embossing powder and heat set to give him a little shine.  The wing is fastened on with the tiny attacher.  I used one of the foliage idea-ology pieces to do double duty.....give him some head feathers and an eye.  Pretty neat, huh?

The rest of the embellishments are some foliage flowers, corners, some chain to hang the cage, and on the cage front, a plaquette (one of Tim's newest idea-ology pieces), because even a bird might find it useful to have an address.  So, my bird resides at 31 Grunge Street, between Holtz Drive and Ledbetter Road in the town of Distress.  In case you wanted  to come for a visit.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Flower Power

No!  Don't go away....this is not a post about the 60's, though I'm certainly old enough to write about those days.  It's about the latest Making Art! challenge going on at the Wendy Vecchi yahoo group.

Every week our fearless leader Lori posts a challenge based on a project from one of Wendy's books.  This week, the original piece was a wall hanging, it contained MANY grungepaper flowers, and one non-floral piece that had been "perfectly pearled."  That is all the information required to join in.  You don't even have to own the book.  Though you really should.

Now, I'm not really all that much into flowery stuff, though I do enjoy assembling grungepaper flowers, but I do like this one, and think that in spite of all the vegetation it isn't overly girly.  And no disrespect meant towards those who like girly.  I love diversity.  Diversity is my middle name (well, actually it is Ruth, but you get my point); diversity is a good thing.  In art and in life.  But, as usual, I digress.  Here is my wall hanging, inspired by the beautiful work of Miz Vecchi:

A few details:   The base is chipboard from Stampin' Up.  The bottom section was gessoed, then colored with fired brick distress stain, then stamped with a Wendy floral border in coffee archival ink.

The top section (what makes it look like a gear) was also gessoed, colored with vintage photo distress stain, then covered with rock candy crackle paint.

As for the flowers, the top one was cut with Tim's tattered florals die, inked with wild honey and fired brick distress inks, and then stamped in black archival ink with one of Wendy's backgrounds.  Below it are two grungepaper roses.  The larger one was done using Wendy's technique of first covering the GP with white pigment ink and then inking with distress ink, which creates a new, more pastel shade.  It was then inked with another background stamp.   The smaller GP rose was inked with fired brick, stamped with another background stamp, then covered with some rock candy distress stickles.  The last flower, the small one with the leaves, was stamped on GP (Wendy's stamps, of course), colored with distress ink and cut out.  Some small idea-ology foliage pieces are in the center.

The butterflies are from Tim's new mini dies (movers and shapers) and they were both inked and then sprayed with a perfect pearls concoction (vintage photo reinker + heirloom gold perfect pearls + water).  I attached little keys for the bodies.

The sentiment is also a Wendy stamp; I just cut the words apart so they would fill the space better.