Sunday, April 27, 2014

My Other Creations: Flower Tree

This week's theme for the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge is YELLOW!  What a fabulous theme, especially for this time of year!

I decided to make a Flower Tree of sorts, which uses yellow as the main component.

To start off with, I painted a cone with a layer of Gesso and yellow acrylic paint.

Next, I used a gel medium to adhere paper scraps to the cone in a random pattern.

After that, I added some lace, which I colored with Distress Ink, and I punched out some hydrangea flowers, which I hung from metal hangers using embroidery floss.  I hung the hangers from the lace on the tree.  I also stamped on a sentiment and dabbed Distress Ink onto other parts of the tree.

I topped off the tree with a flower I colored with alcohol ink and water that added a punch of bright pink.

I made the base using a bamboo skewer, which I planted into a spool of yarn and adorned with scalloped circles.  It turned out to be a fun and therapeutic tree project that didn't require any digging or weeding!

  I used the following fabulous supplies from Simon Says Stamp for my creation:

What a wonderful time of year and what an equally wonderful theme!  What magic will you create with yellow as your inspiration?  Upload your masterpieces to the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge Blog for your chance to win a $50 voucher to the Simon Says Stamp store. 


My Other Creations: Spring Nymph

This month I have the honor of being a Guest Designer for a fabulous blog called, A Vintage Journey.  Behind this blog are some mega-talented designers who provide some seriously inspiring projects and challenges that are in a vintage, shabby, mixed media, Tim-Holtzy style.  

The theme I based my project on is, "Spring Flowers."  I decided to make a Spring Nymph out of a re-purposed jewelry hanger.  Here she is:

Of course, she didn't start out this way.  Here she is before her seasonal transformation (who wants to have a hook for a head anyway???):

You can find these jewelry hangers at discount stores such as Ross, Marshalls, TJ Maxx, etc.  Using needle nose pliers, I pulled out the hooks from her neck and her arms and I cut off the black dress fabric.  I made a head and arms out of flesh-colored clay, which I baked.  Before baking, I left holes in her neck and arms so that when the pieces dried, I could string wire through the holes to attach them back onto her torso.

From then on, it was just a matter of giving her a new wardrobe made from Tim Holtz's "Dictionary" fabric.  I assure you that his fabric is every bit as fun as his patterned paper!  I added little scraps of colored fabric here and there and dabbed on several different shades of Tim's Distress inks as I went along.  I also used his fabulous Papillon stamp set to stamp some butterflies onto my girl's dress. 

To incorporate the spring flowers, I used one of my favorite flower-coloring techniques, which is simple to do.

Start with white flowers:

Using a craft sponge or make-up wedge, dab some Tim Holtz Distress Ink (Peacock Feathers in this case) onto your flower:

And now the magic part!  Using an eyedropper, and while working over a waterproof surface like a craft mat, drip several drops of water onto your flower so that it causes the ink to spread and blend, like so:

Let the flowers dry and they will still retain that soft watercolor look.  Once they were dry, I added just a hint of Tim Holtz Distress ink in Walnut Stain to give them a dustier vibe.  And here they are all finished and attached to our girl:

I gave my girl bright red hair, which I made from several types of yarn and fibers.  I also decided to add some wings, which I made from a panel of crafting wire that was similar to chicken wire.  I adorned her wings with strings of turquoise yarns and fibers.

 For that last floral touch, I added a flower to her hair.

This project was such a joy to create and I love the complete versatility of Tim Holtz products.  You can go retro, dusty, rusty, grungy, soft or bright.

A special thanks again to A Vintage Journey for allowing me to make a project for them.  If you're a fan of Tim Holtz and all things vintage-y (totally not a word), then be sure to check them out.  And in the meantime, I'm going to hope that Spring really is on its way!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Tutorials: Using Watercolors with Embossing Folders

Maybe it's because it's raining a million billion buckets today, but my mind has been on water!  As I took blessed refuge in my crafting room, I got to wondering what would happen if I applied watercolors to my embossing folders from Lifestyle Crafts.

Wonder no more!  Here's the card I created, along with a step-by-step tutorial if you're feeling aquatic and adventurous yourself:

I started out by using the Spotted embossing folder, which I opened up and proceeded to paint with plain old ordinary watercolors.  I didn't use any fancy brand of paint-- just a typical kiddie watercolor set that didn't cost much.  I brushed watercolors onto the debossed (indented) side of the embossing folder, though I found that it works on either side, depending on what look you want.  I preferred the look of the debossed side.  Since I was using watercolors and the folders are plastic, the paint merely beaded up, which didn't look promising.  I was a little scared for myself!  Here's how it looked after I applied the watercolor paint:

I proceeded to use the embossing folder as I normally would: I carefully laid down a sheet of Lifestyle Crafts Letterpress paper (though watercolor paper would work, too) on top of the painted side of the folder, closed the folder, then ran it though my machine using the Genius Platform (which I love).  This platform works in many machines, including the Sizzix Big Shot.  I was worried that all that watercolor paint I added would squoosh out or make a mess, but it stayed in place nicely.  Here's what it looked like when I took it out of the machine:

After I removed the paper, I cleaned my folder with a baby wipe, which was super easy.  As I looked at my paper, I liked how it turned out, but I am a color-holic, so I brushed more watercolor paint across the top of the card, letting it drip down to add even more color.  After it dripped, I dabbed it with a paper towel to increase the blending and to remove the excess water.

I decided I wanted to incorporate a little yellow, too, so I let the card dry out a bit, then I went back in with a smaller brush and painted some of the individual circles yellow.

Once the card was dry, I added some text with a rubber stamp ("Script" from IndigoBlu) and Ranger Jet Black Archival ink.

I gave my card a "frame" by using black Gesso, which I applied with a foam brush.  Acrylic black paint would also work, but I love the solid opaque coverage you get with just one coat of black Gesso.

To finish off the card, I glued on some flowers I distressed, along with a "good times" flag that I made from a strip of washi tape.

All in all, this project was a fun adventure and I'll have to experiment some more with what other mediums I can use with embossing folders.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

My Other Creations: Hope Collage

This week's theme at the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge Blog is "The Big Stamp."  So being the theme-interpreting genius that I am, I decided to use...well...a big stamp!  Here's how I incorporated it into my project, which is a Hope Collage:

The gorgeous orange paper I started out with is from Prima's "Sunrise Sunset" collection, which I must say is one of my all-time faves.  But I wanted to add some teal and green into the background, so I did that by rubbing some teal and green ink over the Simon Says Stamp Cluster stencil:

And here's where my big stamp came in!  I wanted to create a focal point for my "Hope" sentiment to rest against, so I did that with Wendy's Vecchi's Pricing Chart stamp.  I repeated the image several times (in black ink) at different angles.

The sentiment section itself was simple enough.  I cut some lace scraps and colored them with Distress Ink, then I added some flowers, which I also colored.  I included some fabulous pins from 7 Gypsies and the word, "Hope."

I love this time of year and the feeling of newness and renewal it brings.  In essence, this is the perfect time to think hopeful thoughts!

Here are some products I used that you can find at Simon Says Stamp:

I can't wait to see what "big" things you create with our "Big Stamp" challenge!  Upload your masterpieces to the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge Blog so that we can enjoy your work and so that you can be entered for a big $50 voucher to spend at Simon Says Stamp