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, April 30, 2016

Alice at Tea

It's been too danged long since I made altered an Altoids tin. I had forgotten just how much I love doing that! Luckily this month at Alpha Stamps, it's all about Alice in Wonderland and tins, which is just the kick in the pants I needed.

I selected the perfect image of Alice at the tea party from this collage sheet, and then found fun papers that went well with the image. I removed the lid of my tin and covered it with the papers. Need some tips about this covering tins? Click here for my tutorial.

The base of the tin is made from letters from an old spelling game. The porcelain hand on top holds a tasty looking tart, and is surrounded by the White Rabbit's pocket watch and a key. I used Apoxie Sculpt to adhere these items.

The die cut cardboard insert with the Cheshire Cat on it is great for adding extra dimension. The details on the trees and cat were done with colored pencils, while the insert border was painted to match the color of the background paper I chose. I used a tiny brush to apply bright white paint to accent the cat's eyes and teeth. Here's a little closeup.

The figures from the collage sheet are attached to the back of the tin with foam dots to give the scene even more dimension. I used pink pom pom fringe because I liked the 50's sort of color vibe it added. 

I always like to make sure my tin backs looks good, too. I used the perfect crazy Alice-like patterned paper for the back. You can see here that the letter cubes are attached to a base of scrapbook paper-wrapped cardboard up under the tin. That's so the pom poms in the front don't hang down and obscure the letters.

More Alice art coming up, so check back soon! Meanwhile, for a complete list of supplies, click here.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Floral Box with Hinged Lid

Every now and then I like to do things differently. When I saw the ATC Window Box Shrine kit that Alpha Stamps carries, I thought it would make a neat little box. So I embellished it, set it on its side, and added metal box feet. Now the front door is a lid! I backed the "window panes" with some contrasting colored paper before adding a pretty spray of spring flowers. I like the dimensional look of the top under the flowers.

Inside, I made a little tag book of sorts. I used a ball chain, so new pieces can be added any time.

The tag book consists of a bead and charms, a couple of different sized tags, and two different sizes of a chipboard cage with solid back (2" and 3"). The wires of the cages were colored with silver metallic Sharpies, and the backs were covered with images from the Blue Birds collage sheet. I used spray mount to attach the fronts to the backs. The birdhouse charm on the last tag is hung in a little window. I used a little E6000 to hold the bottom of the charm in place on the bottom of the cutout ledge.

Here's an aerial view of the paper flowers and leaves stacked up on the top of the box:

I think it makes a pretty nice set for spring. For a complete set of supplies I used in making this project, click here.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Margaret Hogs the Stage

That Margaret! She's sure she's destined for stardom, but that danged trio act is holding her back. Not tonight, though; she's added a little extra flair to her costume, and made sure she was performing front and center. Nobody will overlook her this time!

Margaret and her friends are from the Alpha Stamp's Little Darlings CS. I tinted their skin and clothing with Copic markers before adding ribbons to all the waistlines and some tulle to Margaret's dress.

Where is Margaret dancing? On this lovely Arch Top Cabinet with Doors, also from Alpha Stamps.

This shrine kit looks pretty with the doors closed,

But it really comes to life when the doors are opened! I put Narrow Window panes on the inside of the door, because I'll most likely leave these doors open, but they'd look great on the outside, too. Perfect fit!

I really like the way the stark black and white striped paper contrasts with the soft pastels. I mitered the corners on the insides of the doors for a fun look. 

From the side you can see how determined Margaret is to stand out during this performance. She's such a ham.
For a complete list of supplies I used in making this project, click here.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Fairy Garden

I've been wanting to make a fairy garden forever, and now that Alpha Stamps is carrying all sorts of wonderful miniatures, I finally got my chance!

I took a bright blue pot that was currently only hosting dead annuals (so sad!), and replanted it with tiny plants to create a sweet little garden. You can tell it's early spring, because my grass has only just begun to green up.

I made a little bunting for the garden, because fairies love festive things. The bunting is made from scrapbook paper, cut into little flags and strung with baker's twine across two painted bamboo skewers. It's a nice little entrance to the fenced in sitting area of the garden.

Tiny gardens are pretty popular right now, and my local nursery even had a table full of miniature plants specifically for fairy gardens. There was lots to choose from, including some that can look like bushes, and several varieties of tiny trees. My "tree" is a small boxwood.  The grass is a lovely moss that will eventually bloom with tiny white flowers.

What really makes the garden fun is the adorable accessories, scaled perfectly for a tiny fairy. This garden contains a white picket fence, a stepping stone path, several clay pots, and a bench for resting (someone's been doing yard work; there are clippers and a watering sitting on that bench).

Two of the pots, the one with pink flowers and the hanging pot, contain paper flowers and a little bit of moss. The large pot on the right is filled with some cuttings from a butterfly bush. I may go back and purchase another tiny plant to actually plant in there. I'm not sure you could have a real plant in the hanging pot; it's so tiny! I made the shepherd's hook with a piece of wire: just bend it into shape.


Here's a bit of aerial view. Can you see the tiny porcupine hiding near the pink roses on the right? He is the cutest! Here's a closeup:
  
Because the flowers and bunting are paper, and the accessories are small and not fastened down in any way, this garden will live on my covered porch where it will be protected from rain and leaf blowers. Hopefully the fairies will be able to find it and will visit often! 

Alpha Stamps has oodles of great miniatures now. For a list of supplies I used for this project, click here, or click here for a huge list of fairy garden supplies.

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

Willow

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.
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