Thursday, April 25, 2013


Last weekend I took a resin workshop with Isolina Perez at Michele's studio.  In addition to learning about and using three different kinds of resins, I got to spend a day with so many of my artsy friends.  What a treat!

Isolina provided everything we needed, and we started out using Ice Resin, since it has the longest setting/curing time.

I had to wait three days for this resin to cure, and then I was able to add some findings to create wearable art.  To turn the little charms containing Van Gogh's irises into earrings required some metal surgery, which I'm happy to say was successful.


Klay Resin is very cool stuff.  We used it to embed an image, which would later be part of a larger piece.  But you have to work very fast....curing time is about 7 minutes!  For the base the embedded image would sit on, we used copper, which we cut, filed, embossed, and patinaed. 

I really do love working with metal.  Here is my finished piece.
Crystal Clay is similar to Klay Resin in that it is also a two part clay that comes in colors.  However, it doesn't set for about an hour or so.  We created pendants using this resin with charms and bezels, stamped on it, and embedded crystals into it.  I made two pieces and when I got home, decided to combine them into one.

A few students had already left when this group photo was taken, but you can see how happy we all are.
I'm looking forward to Isolina's next class, and hope it is scheduled soon.   Make sure to check out all the offerings coming up at Michele's; there's bound to be something on the calendar you'll love.



Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Another Ancestor Shows Her Face (and a few other things......)

The Vintage Ancestors round robin is coming to an end.  Sox just sent my book to Elena, and then it comes home to me.  I just finished pages for Teri's book; I'll hand it off to Pat and then it will end its journey and return to Teri.  She has a sewing theme, and started things off with Mezzo Couture, a fashion house of great prominence.  Pages full of lush fabrics and beautiful papers followed, each showing fashions from the Mezzo salon, modeled by various friends, relatives, and clients.  Sue had brought up Aunt Rose, and I thought if Aunt Rose is living in Paris, and if she had a daughter, something interesting could have happened.

Hidden behind the ribbon is the story. 

Yep, one of Teri's ancestors danced with the Folies Bergere!
You just never know what might happen when you leave your family tree in the hands of your friends.  LOL!  I will miss working in these journals.  Although we all agree that some of our genuine ancestors are even stranger than the ones we invented, this has been such great fun.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Spray (and paint and stamp and draw) AND Paste

The Mad Scientist, Part II

I just couldn't stop....wondering how Wendy's metallic embossing pastes would look over some more of my favorite coloring media.  And of course the wondering led to the experimenting, which led to a whole lot of colorful sample pages.

Row 1:  Portfolio Water Soluble Oil Pastels, applied dry.
Row 2:  Portfolio Water Soluble Oil Pastels, applied wet.
Row 3:  Ranger Distress Markers.
Row 4:  Ranger Distress Ink (applied with ink pad direct to the paper).
Row 5:  Ranger Distress Stains.

Stencil:  Michelle Ward for Stencil Girl.

Then I decided to use Ranger's Color Wash sprays again, but this time stick to some deeper, darker colors.  I didn't expect to be wowed by the results, but I was.

Stencil:  Circle Explosion, The Crafter's Workshop
I had a few misters full of homemade sprays.  These were made with Distress Reinkers and Perfect Pearls.  Don't ask me which colors, because I didn't label them and made them ages ago.

Stencil:  Stencil Girl (one of the the March stencils from the Stencil Girl monthly club)
Before hanging up my lab coat I decided to see how the pastes would react when applied over paint.  And I do have an awful lot of paint.  I narrowed my sampling down to the ones I tend to use the most.
Rows 1 and 2:  Ranger Distress Paints
Row 3:  Ranger Claudine Hellmuth Acrylics
Rows 4 and 5:  Golden Fluid Acrylics
Row 6:  Your garden variety store brand acrylic, the kind you find under the Dick Blick, Utrecht, or Cheap Joe's brand, to name a few.

Stencils:  I have no clue.  They are very pretty border stencils, but the manufacturer is not printed on them and the original packaging is long gone.

I thought I was finished, but went back and filled a page with Derwent's Inktense Color Blocks.  These are highly pigmented inks in stick form, and when water is added they produce intense yet translucent colors.  And when they dry, the color is permanent.

Stencil:  Daisy Cluster, The Crafter's Workshop
I just had to try the pastes over alcohol inks.  First I coated the page in my journal with Ranger's glossy glue n seal to create the nonporous surface the inks work best on.  Then I applied a variety of inks the usual way, pouncing them on with the felt covered tool.


Have I come to any conclusions?  Well, in my opinion, these metallic pastes look great over everything I've applied them to.  My personal preference is the gold....most of the time.  I just think the underlying color comes through a little better with it than the silver.  Also, a lighter coat of paste (usually) reveals more color than a thicker coat.  I've noticed exceptions to all these observations, so bottom line:  just go for it, have fun playing, and honestly, I doubt you'll be disappointed in any of your results.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Spray 'N Paste

Yesterday, Lori (list mom of Everything Wendy Vecchi) shared a link that really inspired me.  Britta Swiderski did a video of her technique of applying Wendy's metallic embossing paste over a background of Dylusions spray inks.  There is an interesting reaction between the two, and the results are just gorgeous.  Just click on Britta's name to see what I'm talking about.

Anyway, Lori decided that the new challenge at EWV would be to use that technique on a project.  First I pulled out my great big, nearly untouched Dyan Reaveley journal, and decided that this would be where I'd do my experimenting from now on.  With no worries about the finished product.  So far, it's working for me.

Here are a few of my experiments.  First, a background with some of the green Dylusions and a Michelle Ward Stencil Girl stencil with gold embossing paste.  Then, another part of the same background, same stencil, but this time I used the silver paste.

Next, I used Wendy's stripes stencil.  First I applied the gold paste holding the stencil so the stripes are vertical.  After it totally dried I repositioned the stencil right over the vertical stripes, this time holding it horizontally,  and applied the silver paste.  Before removing the stencil I very lightly pounced over the paste with a paper towel for a little extra texture.  This isn't the greatest photo; it's really striking in person.
Then I decided I should try the technique with different colored backgrounds.  Again, these do look way better in person.  First, some deep purples/blues with gold paste, followed by pinks/reds with silver paste.  And the stencils I used are Wendy's layered flowers. 

Before leaving the experimental phase and actually using this technique in a project, I started to wonder how it would work with a different spray.....namely Ranger's Color Wash.  Now, generally, the Color Wash sprays are darker and earthier than the Dylusions, so I just used the brightest that I had.....butterscotch, terra cotta, and red pepper.  And I didn't bother with a stencil.  I just scraped some gold paste over the dried ink with an old credit card.
I think the Color Washes work well, at least the shades I chose.  The next time I decide to play mad scientist I'll try this with some of the other colors.  And while I'm at it, I'll see what happens when the paste is applied over other sprays, ink pads, crayons, chalks......
Here is the journal page I did for the challenge.
The gold paste was applied over Wendy's lovely leaves stencil.  When the paste was nearly dry but still a bit soft I pressed a stamp onto the leaves (any old stamp; I wasn't trying for an image, just some texture).  I also used a stylus to make some dots. 
By the way, I keep a few sheets of deli paper on my table, and use it to blot off excess inks, paints, sprays, etc. After a day or two of blotting action, the paper is full of colorful goodness.  The two butterflies (Wendy stamps) were stamped onto one of those sheets, cut out, and then glued onto the page.  The page also has some random stamping, doodling, and little dots of paint.
**CAUTION**  If you're experienced in such things, this warning may seem as obvious as a take-out coffee cup announcing that the content is hot, but if you're new to all this, you'll be thankful.  WASH THE EMBOSSING PASTE OFF YOUR STENCILS AND STAMPS BEFORE IT DRIES!  I'm just sayin'.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

This and That

This is what I've been up to lately.  I was too tired yesterday to blog, so I posted some of these on FB.  But, there is something new here.  :)

One of the many gifts from Elena at Keys4Art was the complete collection of Julie Nutting's whimsical doll stamps.  Even a confirmed old anti-cutenik like me finds them irresistible.  I used them on a tag and a card.

Stamped on Ranger's Specialty Paper, colored with distress markers, doodled on with glaze pens and souffle pens, and cut out.  The conversation bubbles were traced and cut from a template of various sized and shaped bubbles I've had for years.  The words are all bits of two different (and very old) Stampin' Up stamps.

The tag (from Prima's tag book, the perfect size for Julie's stamps) was inked a bit.  Instead of coloring all of this doll, I stamped the clothing (and headband) on various papers from Jenni Bowlin mini paper pads, cut them out and attached them to the doll.  I added the bouquet of flowers and the two flowers in her hair.  The sentiments are also old Stampin' Up stamps.
The challenge at Everything Wendy Vecchi was to use distress embossing powder and at least one of Wendy's stamps.  I did that and then some on a journal page.
The two striped flowers are Wendy's stencil, filled with her gold embossing paste.  The third flower is from Stencil Girl, and that was embossed with broken china embossing powder.  More distress embossing on the leaves, and the rest is stamping.....Wendy's and even a few I've cut myself.
Remember my polymer clay mouse from last weekend?  The oil paint we used finally dried enough for me to add some embellishments.  Striped stockings, polka dotted sleeves, and some pretty shocking shoes.  And you can't see it, but....I filled her crown with gold micro beads.  As befits a royal mouse.

I received another book in the Kindred Souls round robin.  This one is Deb's, and her theme is "vintage feminine."  I used one of my favorite images.
By using both Tim's regular sized and mini cabinet card die as an insert, I was able to create the frame, which was embossed with Cuttlebug's vintage wallpaper folder.  It was cut from a piece of Ranger's foil tape sheet, and altered with a mix of Ranger/Vintaj patinas and distress paints.
The flourishes on the left are not stamps....they're Tim's rub-ons.  The flowers (sprayed with perfect pearls mists) are Primas, and the stick pins were made by my friend Carla.....she gifted everyone with a set of them at Keys4Art.  The pearls and lace are from my stash.
So, I'm caught up again.....just waiting for the next journal delivery.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Skinny Legs and All

One of my favorite art experiences of 2012 was attending Art Is You in Connecticut.  And one of my favorite classes there was Sculptural Birds and Beasts Ornaments with Doreen Kassel.  Click HERE to see that post. So when I saw that Doreen was coming to Michele's studio, I signed up immediately.

Yesterday Heidi, Pat and I went downtown and had such a fun day with Michele, Doreen, and four other students, working with polymer clay, and enjoying each other's company.  And many thanks to Heidi's hubby Marty for providing door to door transportation.....both ways!

Doreen teaching and demonstrating:

In this class we made sculptural creatures with long skinny legs.....much more detailed than the birds I made at Art Is You.  Here are some of Doreen's spectacular skinny leg pieces (photo from Doreen's site):

After conditioning the white polymer clay we ran it through a pasta machine to make very thin sheets, and used them to cover a ball (some of us used glass ornaments, some used papier mache spheres, and some {like me} used compressed paper balls that Doreen gets from France).

Then comes the fun (and challenging) part: deciding what to make and then adding clay to the covered ball to create the features.  The skinny legs were formed from lollipop sticks which were also covered with the clay.  For the arms we used 14 gauge aluminum wire (again, covered with the clay).
I decided to do a mouse.

OK, it doesn't look much like a mouse yet.  But wait.....
After a half hour or so in the convection oven, my mouse is ready for paint.

Doreen showed us how to make ruffles, puffy sleeves, outsized shoes, and anything else we wanted to add to our creations.  Pat also decided on a mouse, while Heidi did a Pomeranian.  Doreen is so helpful with any problems that come up, and if someone wants to do a creature she doesn't have a sample for (like Heidi's Pom), she will work with that person.  Heidi had never worked with polymer clay before, and her clay Pom looks just like Hunter, the real deal.

Here is Heidi's finished piece, followed by Pat's:

After painting (we used oil paints) and any necessary repairs or additions, the pieces go back into the oven to cure. 
The paint on my mouse was still too wet to allow me to handle it, so I waited until I got home to take pictures of my finished piece.  Well, almost finished.  Those bare legs will definitely get the striped stockings treatment.....just as soon as the white paint dries.
Can you guess what the crown is?

I won't keep you in suspense.  It's the top part of a Christmas ornament.  Doreen uses so many ornaments in her work, and since not all her pieces are meant to be hung, she always has leftover tops.  Clever woman realized they make the perfect crown.

I think my royal mouse has mastered that Queen Elizabeth waving-to-the-masses look.