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

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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Arches of Mardi Gras

Did you ever just get a weird idea and decide to run with it? Here's what happened to me when I got the March kit from Alpha Stamps. I fell in love with the color of the G45 papers and the images on the Costumes collage sheet. The arches seemed like the perfect place to host a costume ball, and what do you know? A slew of Mardi Gras babies decided to crash the party!

On the left is a dashing gentleman, a self-described "dreamer". He's offering a flower to the girl of his dreams, but which one is the lucky lady? It's impossible to tell. This fellow's fancy costume was a little clashy with the background, so I used some Copic markers to make the green and red colors of his outfit lean more towards orange and turquoise. After all, clashing with the decor is so uncouth! 

Copic markers helped out the masked woman's costume as well. The poster on the wall was cut from the scrapbook paper. It perfectly set the mood of the party. The "floor" of each panel is a contrasting paper, simply torn so the white edges show. Isn't this woman so fancy with her bronze fan? The ribbons are a couple of strands of embroidery floss.

Here's the lady on the right. Is she going to be the lucky one who receives that flower? Obviously she feels worthy, carrying around that "beautiful" sign. I have to admit that she does look lovely in her harlequin dress. No Copics were needed for this outfit; the colors in her frock were already perfect.

The panels are hinged on the back with strips of coordinating paper with rounded edges. Nothing fancy; I just freehanded the cuts. Let's talk about those babies, though. I guess they caught wind of the planned festivities and just had to join in. I'm kind of fond of this back view, where you can see them all scaling the wall. Cute, or something from a horror flick? Probably leaning towards more horror, especially considering that the baby on the far right of each panel had to suffer a bit of an amputation to get its legs to fit. I nipped a bit off of their left legs with a wire clipper. I can't say I feel good about that, but art requires sacrifice, yes? The climbing babies are each attached with a dab of hot glue.

I got those little naked babies at a party store. For a complete list of all the other supplies, click here.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Big Red Circus Wagon, with Lion Cage tutorial

The circus is in town!
I can't help but be a little sad that the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus will be closing for good this year. I have always loved the circus, and making circus art. It just so happens that the Alpha Stamps mini 3D Cinderella Coach, with a change of color and adornments, makes the perfect little circus wagon for little peg people. It's been almost two years since I made my Tiny Peg Circus, and it was time for those little performers to have a means of reliable transportation.


The wagon is just the right size to hold six members of the circus. For safety reasons, no one wanted to ride with the lions, so I constructed a little cage to tag along with the wagon. I'll show you how that was made at the end of this post.

Before assembling the wagon, I painted the body red, and the front and back pieces brown. The front seat was painted black, and given tiny gold "buttons", tiny circles which came from Dazzles gold stickers. Some striped paper went behind the seat, and lots more of the Dazzles stickers were applied around the window and doors and along the roof line. Metal stars, leaves, and filigree pieces add a lot of circus glitz.

The back of the wagon also has some stripes, plus a "wooden" painted platform that is just the right size to carry the strong man's barbells.

Here's a view of the back, without the barbells.

The lion cage is tiny, but large enough to comfortably carry a couple of felines. The cage was constructed with cardboard and part of a set of chipboard gates. Those gates made the perfect fancy bars for the cage.

To make the cage, use the smaller gates from the set. Remove the long side of the gate, seen on the left gate below. Figure out how large you want your cage to be. The walls of this one are 2 3/8" tall, and the front and back are 1 5/8" wide. You'll need four slim pieces to fit on each side of the bars for the front and back of the cage; these are 2 3/8" tall by 3/8" wide.

Paint the front and back bars of the gate gold with a paint pen, and paint the remaining cardboard red. Using Aleene's Tacky Glue, glue the narrow pieces right up against the bars, and then glue on the front and back at 90 degree angles. Working quickly, glue the bottom of the cage into place. Using an x-acto knife, carefully cut the bars flush with the bottom of the cage. Keep the part you cut off; you'll use that later. Attach the back of the cage, which consists of the bars with the thin strips attached, and then cut those bars off, again, flush with the bottom of the cage.

Using the gate parts you just trimmed off, cut the excess bars off as shown below, and then remove one of the finials so there are six remaining. These will now fit the front and back of the wagon. Glue into place along the tops.

Glue into place along the tops, as shown below. Wrap a Dazzles sticker around the top of the bars and the bottom of the cage, and glue stars on the front and back corners. Use E6000 to attach the tiny ring handle, decorate the back, and add a flag if you're feeling festive.

To attach the wheels, add a piece of cardboard to the bottom that's slightly smaller than the bottom itself. This will help stabalize the included rounded pieces that will hold the axles. Glue them in place as shown. Thread the axles through the holes, and put the wheels on. If the wheels tend to slide around, take some masking tape and roll it around the axle. That will keep the wheels in place. At the left of this photo, you can see the trailer hitch. It's simply a piece of cardboard with a hitch fastener punched through one end.

I hope you enjoyed seeing my circus wagon even half as much as I enjoyed making it. Let's all wave goodbye to the circus as it leaves forever.

For a complete list of supplies, click here.

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