Design team member of Alpha Stamps, moderator at Craftster, lover of ephemera and junk.

Welcome! Grab a cold one, kick off your shoes, and have a look around.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Birds of a Feather Row Houses

Welcome to Bird Row, where birds of a feather flock together. Through this door lies a neighborhood of row houses, each with a unique occupant. This month at Alpha Stamps, we were given a box with a door lid, plus several houses to decorate. I added a little topper with a round window to my door. A little pink bird is nesting in the round window. A golden bird skull serves as a dramatic door knocker.

There are six residents of Bird Row, each sharing a duplex with another bird. Although they are quite different in temperament, they seem to get along quite well, each respecting each others uniqueness.

The houses are attached with tiny hinges, so they fold up and can be stored in the doorway. The backs all feature fancy cages.

On the fronts of the houses, I layered different papers from the Provincial 6 1/2" paper pad collection, and then drew on them with a chalkboard marker and a Stabilo "Aquarellable" pencil. I love using this pencil; if you use a wet paint brush up against it, it makes a great shadow. Most of the darker birds are outlined with this technique.

In the first set of houses, a bright and happy early bird shares the duplex with a bird brain. Occasionally, they go shopping together or meet for tea.

An eagle eyed bird shares the next duplex with a little wren, who loves to read while quietly humming to herself. These two are not the best of friends, but they are, at least, civil. Some of the darker accents, like the row of stars and the numbers above, and the music notes below, are rubdowns. The windows in the roofs of some of the houses are chipboard, so they are 3D.

The last two occupants on the street are the bird of sorrow (he's so dramatic!), and a night owl. Perhaps the night owl is too noisy in the midnight hours and the bird of sorrow is simply facing a sleep deficit. 

All the houses store neatly in the box. The sides are decorated with 4 panel windows and greenery, and couple of curious birds that peek through the windows.

I had lots of fun making the door and all the little houses.
For a list of supplies, click here.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Robert Burns Artist Trading Block

Robert Burns, the national poet of Scotland, was born January 25, 1759. Tonight is Burns Night, and people all over the world will celebrate his birthday with traditional Scottish fare. My next door neighbors invited us to share in their Burns Night feast tonight, and insisted that we bring nothing. We can't go over there empty handed, so since they are such Burns fans, I made them a little R. Burns birthday souvenir, using the best known portrait of Burns by Alexander Nasmyth. Added a little party hat and some fireworks, and there you have it.

The back, featuring a blessing he wrote.

Not sure what my friends will think of this little gift, so we're also bringing Champagne.

Monday, January 11, 2016


A friend of my sister's saw the pet portraits I had done, and asked me if I would paint one for her nephew. His girl Willow is just so adorable that I had to say yes! Now she's on her way to her owner. Look at that sweet face!
Because Willow's owner is a guy, I went with a serif typeface instead of the cursive I usually use. I hope he likes it.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Zebra Circus Wagon

 Happy 2016! Here's my first project of the new year.

One thing I really love about the Alpha Stamps' monthly kits is how versatile they are. This month, our stated theme was "Valentine Paper Theatres", but when I saw the square shrine and the wonderful stripey papers, all I could think of was "circus"! So, circus it is. The cardboard shrine was the perfect size to transport a zebra to the big top.

The square shrine is designed to have a taller facade on top, but for the circus wagon, I used the shrine upside down. I added extra cardboard on the two sides and the back in order to make a good base for the wheels. Here's a picture of how the back looks with the 1" of extra cardboard on the bottom. The wheels come with the pieces shown here painted black. Once they're in place, it's easy to thread the axle through them and attach the wheels. Just make sure you have them lined up properly; I first put my wagon together without gluing it to make sure that these axle holders were on straight.

I got the zebra from my local Michaels store, and then dressed her up for her circus debut. I painted her hooves glittery red with Stickles, and then gave her a ruffle made of pom pom fringe. I also used Stickles to create little red jewels on her crown. She's so fancy! I added a little 3D trim to the Cirque facade; here you can see some black and white braid and some gold star studs.

Back of the wagon, an advertisement for the act:

The rope in front was added to make this a pull toy. I punched a hole in the cardboard and threaded the cord through it. I tied a big knot and glued it to the wall of the side to keep it firmly attached. The end of the cord is glued into a small wooden finial, which I painted black and gold and then glazed. The back step was an old wooden block I happened to have, cut to size. Matchsticks make the perfect flag poles.
Huzzah! The circus is in town! For a complete list of supplies, click here.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Quick and Easy Placeholders/Ornaments

I always love to set the holiday table, and one thing I like to do every year is make a placeholder that can later be taken home and used as an ornament. This year, I was excited to find some adorable ceramic snowmen on sale at Michaels for only 79 cents apiece.

I used paint pens to draw in a few details, and then tied a bit of ribbon around each little guy's neck. So quick and easy! Here's a little hint for you, if you want to personalize something like this, write the name and date first, and then it's so easy to center the buttons and faces. Perfect every time!

The snowmen have rounded bottoms, so I purchased a package of little wreaths to give them some support as they sit on the table.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Santa and His Elves

I've been really busy decorating my house for Christmas this year, but did have time to whip out a few seasonal peg dolls. Here's Santa and a couple of his helpers. One of the elves holds a shiny silver package, and the other a candy cane.

I also made a friend for them: Jack Frost. Brrr!

All the wintery gang together:

I hope your holiday season is filled with joy!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Tin of the Month Club, December

Well, I did it! Each month this year, I altered a tiny tin to represent that month. I can't believe how quickly this year has flown by! Here's December's tin: Jolly Old Saint Nick. So simple, but I love the little vintage plastic Santa and his candy cane. He looks so happy!

And here, finally, the year in review.

If you want to see larger photos of some of the tins, click here. Hope your 2015 was a good one. On to 2016!

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