I love making things from scraps and trash, whether it be empty Altoid tins, old photographs, or rusty bits I find on the street. Most of the things I post here are available from my Etsy shop, Racky Road.

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

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Cirque Theatre

Send in the clowns! This month at Alpha Stamps, it's all about the circus, one of my favorite themes. Here's a wild and wooly clown extravaganza, made using the same Small Paper Theatre box that I used to make "Animal Farm". There is so much aerial action going on in this Cirque Theater, that I turned the box for a vertical presentation, and mounted it on a Small Wooden Theatre Base.

All clowns, all the time. Plus a few stars.

I was working on this over the Fourth of July weekend, hence the Americana feel. Once the theater was built, I filled it jam-packed full with clowns. 

The clowns are stacked at various depths to give dimension.

A vintage cupcake pick and some metallic hands welcome one and all to the circus. If you'd like to see how the paper medallion was made, click here for the tutorial. For this project, I made a semi-circle instead of using a full medallion.

Fill your days with circus fun! Need supplies? Click here!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Trick or Treat! Halloween Peg Dolls

Alpha Stamps has started carrying peg dolls, and I've been having so much fun making little trick or treaters with them! Each of these kids started out with just the basic peg doll kit, and I added a variety of little extras to make them all different.

The first one I made was a witch. I made her a black hat out of cardstock, a skirt out of gathered orange tulle, and then added extras like tiny orange buttons, bat wings, a black mask, a pumpkin pod jack o'lantern, and a trick or treat bag I constructed from a grocery bag.

Next I thought it would be fun to make a little cat. She's got ears sculpted out of Apoxie Sculpt, a pipe cleaner tail, a black mask, a vintage black cat cupcake pick, and a dress and trick or treat bag like her witchy friend.

Here's a little devil, all dressed in red. She's got bright red horns (Apoxie Sculpt), red glittered mask and bat wings, a tail made with a wrapped pipe cleaner, a skull bead, and the cutest little pumpkin treat bag ever.

And then lastly, there's this zombie. I'm not sure if she's a trick or treater or an actual zombie trying to pass. She's not coordinated enough to carry a treat bag, and no matter: she's got a skeletal arm to gnaw on, should she get hungry. She's wearing a tattered black tulle dress.

Oh no! BRAINS!

For a list of supplies, click here.
Trick or treat!
These trick or treaters all be for sale in my Etsy shop, if you're looking for a little Halloween fun.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Mary Shrine

Here's another piece for a Craftster swap. The theme of the swap was "altered mini Altoid tins", and one of my partner's preferred themes was a shrine to the Virgin Mary. I love that! I asked him if he was ok with unconventional materials, and he was, so here's what I sent.

I was really happy with this one. Depending on your monitor, you're probably looking at it just about full size. Those tins are tiny! As for unconventional materials, I used matchsticks, a rusty bottlecap, some brads, and on the inside of the shrine, some slinky-like wires in two tones of metal. They give it some nice shine and add dimension. Oh, and that red eyeball. I'm pretty sure you don't see that every day on a Mary shrine.

The sides were built up and the elements attached with Apoxie Sculpt clay. I absolutely love that stuff, both for sculpting and adhering difficult parts, like the eyeball. It takes paint so well, so adding decorative touches to the sides was simple.

Here's the back. I added a little hanger. Whenever I add a hanger to a tin, I make sure to cut out the paper covering the back so that the hanger is adhered directly to the tin. I wouldn't want the weight of the hanging tin to rip the paper! Had to add one more little decorative clay swirl on the back. It helps support that bottlecap.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Mermaid Spoolie

I'm currently participating in an Altered Spool swap on Craftster.org.  My partner received yesterday, so I can share photos now of the ocean themed spool I sent her.

All of the materials for this spool were in my (massive) stash, including the shells, the green sequins (they were my grandmother's!) and the hideous earrings/charms that became the coral. I knew I'd use those some day!

Here's a closeup so you can see her sweet face.  She's so adorable. I hope she likes her new fins and seashell bra. She's carrying around a little pearl. Does she not see the giant pearl right behind her?

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Animal Farm, the musical. Now with medallion tutorial.

What's up this month at Alpha Stamps? Paper theaters! I used the Small Paper Theater Box and some of the scrumptious theater backgrounds from collage sheets to make a theater base, and then had a marvelous time making it luxurious. I used all kinds of embellishments: flatback rhinestone studs, metal hands and stars, gold Sweeper Fringe, matchsticks, and a scallop shell charm, to name a few (Don't worry, there's a link to my supply list at the bottom of this post!)  There are even a few rhinestone stars floating down from the ceiling; they're attached with threads.

Who are the players in this fancy-schmancy venue? After some deliberation, I chose some great animal images from the Circus Animals collage sheets. The animals are in rehearsal for opening night of "Animal Farm, the musical". I just had to give them all googly eyes, as they looked like they were having such fun. Well, most of them, anyway. Ronnie Rooster is a little ticked off that he's not listed as one of the stars. He's folded up his music and is just about ready to stomp off the stage in defeat.

The characters are all stacked up with dimensional foam, and I folded some of the edges of the music scores in their little hands to give them even more dimension. The Animal Farm banner is made using a rubber stamp (Large Center Banner). The title of the play is hand lettered. I cheated on the sign on the side; I printed the animals' names out and then drew and cut out that banner. It's hanging from a pole made from a couple of matchsticks. Baker's twine was used for the cord.

Want to know how I made the folded paper medallion that's behind the star on top?

It's easier than it looks, especially if you have a scoring board. Here's how:
1. Cut a strip of paper 12" long, and a little less than half the diameter you wish your medallion to be. The strip I'm using in this tutorial is 1 1/4" wide, and the finished medallion is a little over 2 1/2" in diameter. 

2. Place the strip along the top and side guidelines of the scoring board, and using the scoring utensil, score every 1/2" (on the Martha Stewart board, shown here, you would score on each dot.) Your paper is longer than the board, so when you get to the edge of the board in your scoring, simply slide your paper over to the left to continue scoring your strip.

3. Once you have scored every 1/2", flip the paper over and score between each scored area. Now you will have a score line every 1/4". Flipping the paper makes it easier to fold.

 4. Finish scoring all the way to the end, and then fold the strip accordion-fashioned.

5. In order to join your medallion correctly, you'll need to cut off one of the ends at the first fold. 

6. Put a strip of double stick tape on one end, and bring the other end around (your strip should be in a circle now). Attach firmly.

7. Here's the tricky part: stand the strip up on one edge, and using both your hands, gently press the top edge down to the middle. Take a circle, coat it up well with glue, and place it on the center, holding firmly. I use white glue, and then set the medallion under a stack of books to set.

8. Once it's set, you have a festive medallion. 

For a list of supplies used in this project, click here. And enjoy the show!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Springtime in Paris, OR "Clarence Photobombs in France"

Alpha Stamps' theme for May is Springtime in Paris. Ah, so romantic. I'm not all that sappy, though, so I took a bit of a different tact. One of the collage sheets we were given is "Paris Postcards", which have reduced images of actual vintage postcards of France. I collect vintage postcards, so I really love this collage sheet. The colors and images are really wonderful. I decided to mount them on some artist trading blocks and other wooden blocks that I painted and then sanded. My original plan was to add other elements on top of the images for a Paris collage, but I loved the way the blocks looked with just the postcards on them, and I just couldn't bear to cover them up.

Enter Clarence. He just couldn't help inserting himself into every frame. 

I don't know...it just cracks me up.

I did at least collage the backs of the blocks.

But I prefer Clarence.

For a complete list of supplies, click here.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

ATC Book Bee Shrine

I have a friend who is a beekeeper. We did a swap together and she asked me to make her a bee shrine. This ATC Book Box is the perfect size! I got some fun papers and some bee charms and set to work. I love using stripey papers on the sides because it reminds me of pages of a book.

When you open it up, this is what you see. The honeycomb pattern was made using a Tim Holtz stencil and some ink. I made a faux front for the inside niche, and added a large Victorian bee charm that was given a copper patina.

Here's what you would find if you were to remove the faux front: I painted the interior a metallic copper color for reflectivity, and added a battery operated tea light. The cardboard pieces you see along the walls are for support, so that when you add the wall, it will have a nice place to sit.

Look how cool it looks in the dark! It's fun using light as one of the "supplies" for projects.

The ATC Book Box comes with some tags, so I embellished them a bit and added them in for my friend to use later for gift tags. Love that beehive stamp! I also used it on the spine of the box.

As always, most of my supplies, including the beehive stamp and the ATC Book Box, came from Alpha Stamps. For a supply list and links to purchase, click here.
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