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.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Circus Town

A friend of mine recently introduced me to feves, and I'm not sure how I feel about that; once I saw them, I had to purchase some. If you are unfamiliar with feves, they are small trinkets hidden in a king cake or similar dessert. You know, like the plastic babies you can buy at the party store. BUT, the feves my friend introduced to me are no plastic babies: they are porcelain feves from France. There are all sorts of feves to be found on etsy: animals, kitchen accessories,  and cartoon characters, just to name a few. I found a set that is circus themed and it was all over. They are mine.

Of course I need a way to display them, so I looked to Alpha Stamps and found the cutest little houses, perfect to make a circus town! They also had the perfect paper needed to decorate the houses: "The Greatest Show" 6 x 6 pad. It's gorgeous! I had fun mixing and matching the papers on each of the houses. For scale, the tallest house in the center is 3 1/4" tall, minus the flag.

Some closeups. Look at those little porcelain beauties!

I fussy cut some of the elements from the papers: the ball in the clown house, the pennants, and all the circus posters.

And, the backs. Circus Town is the perfect place for all my new feves to live. For a list of Alpha Stamps supplies used, click here.

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Halloween At The Cemetery, a Candle Holder

More Halloween! This month, Alpha Stamps sent me some small reliquaries. What to do, what to do? I'm not sure what made me think of making a candle holder, but now that it's done, I'm glad I did. This will be such fun to add to the mantle this year. *Note, to avoid any sort of fire hazard, I'll be sure to only use a battery operated candle in this holder.

I painted all the tombstones with a mixture of paints (tutorial at the bottom of this post) and added papers, charms, rub on type, and collage sheet images to create five different tombstones. This little graveyard is littered with pumpkins, a witch's broom, and bones that were snapped off of a plastic skeleton. It's pretty easy to just break those bones off at the joints.

Here lies Edgar Allan Poe.  I used rub on type to indicate the year of his death, and for the RIP written on the gravestone to the right. To make the bats fly, I used a thin wire and literally just shoved it into the rubber bodies of the bats (poor things!). The wire was sandwiched between the two pieces of chipboard before gluing the gravestones together. Clothespins were used to hold the pieces tight while drying.

A black cat, a giant crow, and more bones. So spooky! I wrapped the candle with a black mesh ribbon before placing it into the holder.

I love the sentiment on this final tombstone: "Gather ye blossoms while ye may."

I made the base for the candle holder from corrugated cardboard. I used a large can to trace around a circle, and cut two of those out using an x-acto knife. Glue these together to make a thicker piece This will elevate the candle and give the tombstones something to lean against. Glue this double thick base to another piece of cardboard.

You can make the base any shape you want; I elected to make mine a larger circle. Cut that shape out with an x-acto knife, and you are ready to go. I added a little moss to help hold my tombstones in place, then glued them to the inner circle with a glue gun. Most of the other elements, like the bones and pumpkins, were also attached with the hot glue.

For a complete list of supplies, click here. Spooky Halloween!

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Halloween Tunnel Book

It's never too early to craft for Halloween, and now that it's August, be prepared to see a lot more spooky stuff! When I saw this 6" x 6" tunnel book, I just knew it was time to bring out the scary. Enter if you dare...

When it's closed, you can see through all the layers to the back of the book. I added lots of fun Halloween things, from a jack o'lantern, an articulated skeleton, a curious rat, and a skull and crossbones. There's even a ferocious lion door knocker! Once I had it all assembled, it looked like it needed more color, so I added an orange bunting. It's so easy to make: just glue little triangles to a piece of thread, and hang.

Let's open it up! On page one, we visit the undertaker's, which features a couple of tombstones and what appears to be a forgotten casket. Someone tried to decorate a bit by putting out some jack o'lanterns. The iron door is actually sold as a window, but with the addition of the street number and the knocker, it makes quite a presentable door.

On this next page, a couple of skeletons frolic on Halloween night. When I covered the page on the right with scrapbook paper, I left the branches that ran across the opening of the window.

Here's the final page. The book kit comes with one last page with a smaller window, but I liked the the size of the second to the last window, which perfectly framed the image of that tortured soul, so my book stops here. The sign says, "At twelve o'clock on Halloween, many strange things can be seen." Looking at what lurks out of this poor guy's window, I think I'd agree.

He doesn't seem very happy, does he? Perhaps he's just resigned to his fate on this All Hallow's Eve.

I cut out tons of images from collage sheets, and spent quite a bit of time moving them all around until I was happy with each page. It was like working a great fun Halloween puzzle. I used my handy BindItAll to add the wire binding to this book. Are you in need of spooky supplies? Click here to find nearly everything I used for this project. And happy haunting!

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Drinking All Day

This month's Alpha Stamps kit is "Fruit Paradise". Now, I like fruit as well as the next guy, but for some strange reason, when I got the kit, which consists of fruity scrapbook paper, tabbed book pages, pockets, and binder rings, all I could think of was fruity drinks. And fruity drinks led to boozy housewives. I used part of a quote I found on the "Bitchy Words" collage sheet, "I love you like I've been drinking all day", which inspired me to use the tabbed pages of the book to denote morning, noon, and night. That's because I cut out the first phrase of that quote, and now my little book is titled  "I've been drinking all day." After all, you can't drink all day if you don't start in the morning, amIrite?

I made covers for the book out of thin cardboard, and used foam tape to bump up the cherries and the peach for a little dimension on the front cover. The ric rac gives it a bit of a vintage flair.

The pages are filled with fruity images, bitchy words, and fun housewives. I changed the grocery list on the image on the right to be a liquor store list. You know it's going to be a wild day when you're looking forward to "wine o'clock" early in the morning!

A pocket page holds the recipe for a Tipsy Smoothie, both tasty and healthy. Hey, it's got fruit in it! The pocket page shown is designed to have two pockets: one on the front and one on the back. For my purposes, I trimmed the back pockets off before constructing and decorating.

Now it's noon. I used a lot of patterned paper scraps to layer and frame collage sheet images. This is a great way to use stash!

Lunchtime! Let's enjoy some Champagne Lemonade. Oops, I almost spelled "lemonade" wrong on the recipe card, and my writing's gotten a tad sloppy. I blame those early morning smoothies!

Night. More layered scraps. And what's this? Too much orange juice in the vodka? The horror!

Oops, in this recipe you can really see the effects of those Orange Crush cocktails. I usually have much better penmanship....

The end. I used the little metal embellishments on the front and back cover to hide the seams where the ric rac comes together.

The recipes pull out for easy use. And I must leave you with a full disclaimer: no alcohol was consumed in the making of this project. In fact, I found all the recipes online and haven't actually tried any of them. I just thought they seemed like good morning, noon, and night drink candidates. That doesn't mean I won't be trying them sometime, though. Remember folks, drink responsibly!
For a list of supplies from Alpha Stamps, click here. Cheers!

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Small Journal

The new June kit from Alpha Stamps is here, and it features the Butterfly Garden 6x6 paper pad. It's perfect for spring, even though we seemed to have jumped right on into summer where I live. In any case, I decided to take the Wide Letter Box Book provided and make a sort of junk journal. Here's the cover. Don't you just love that bee? It's actually a pendant, but I think it looks great as a charm.

It was fun to mix and match the papers from the 6x6 pad to make the inside and outside of the cover. I altered the Box Book a bit by cutting the spine down by half, as I wanted a bit of a smaller journal. Leaving the spine its full size would make quite a chunky book. My binding rings are only 3/4", so a little trimming was necessary.

The pages of the book were bound with a Zutter BindItAll. After the wire bindings were done, I threaded a couple of rubber bands through the wires and slid them onto the spine. If I ever want to change the contents of the interior, it'll be easy to remove this insert.

Below, you can see how the rubber bands hold the wire binding.

Along with the Butterfly Garden paper (cut to size), the pages consist of tickets, tags, old book pages, graph paper, and even a photograph or two. Here are some tickets from past travels: one from Japan, and one from Italy. It's fun to have different sizes bound together.

An old page with German text on the left, and an envelope made with the scrapbook pages on the right. I popped an artist trading coin into the envelope.

To make the cover, I cut the spine to a size that would work with the 3/4" wire binding I used, and then attached the cardboard pieces with masking tape, which I later painted black. To make sure the tape would hold, I used some strong double stick tape at all the edges. Here's a photo from the beginning of construction. The shiny red is the liner of the tape. You can see where I put the masking tape on the spine, ready to attach the larger cover piece on the right. Make sure to keep a space between your cardboard pieces so your book has enough give to be able to close correctly.

Here are a few more pages, with tickets, pockets, tags, and lovely ladies in Easter bonnets.

For a list of supplies from Alpha Stamps, click here!

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Artist Trading Coins: Controlled Mayhem, with Tutorial

Artist trading coins from Alpha Stamps!  Here's some Controlled Mayhem to brighten your day: five coins and five pockets decorated in a circus theme. I used some metallic paint to brighten up the edge of each coin in shiny gold. Grommets were added to the upper left corner of each pocket, and they were all bound with a binder ring. A tassel made with fun and fuzzy fibers (and a sweet silver elephant) was added to the ring for maximum circus fun.

Here are the pockets and coins before binding. I used a rubber stamp to make the title on the first pocket. Old tickets look fab on the fronts of the rest.

Let's take the coins out!

Circus fun!

Mixed colors and patterns.

 Of course I had to decorate the backs a bit as well.

Here are a few in progress photos and comments about how these were made. My first step was to choose which images I wanted to use on the coins. Once those were chosen, I picked paper for the background and glued it on. Each coin then got a border. Some of the borders were made using black sharpies, and some were done with paint and a spotter, which is actually a tool for decorating fingernails. That's one at the lower left. You can get inexpensive sets of those on Amazon.

Here's what my table looked like when I was choosing the papers for the pockets. You can see the chipboard pocket at the top center. I painted all the edges with a gold metallic paint for a bit of sparkle. IMPORTANT: When I folded up the pocket and adhered the flaps to form the pocket, I did it with a coin inside to make sure I left enough give in the pocket. If you skip this step, your coin may not fit. Using double stick tape insures the pocket will stick firmly.

The photo below shows the three steps I took in covering the pockets. They can be a little tricky because of the rounded corners, but here's an easy way to deal with that.
1. Put double stick tape all around the straight edges of the pockets.
2. Glue the paper you're using, and line it up with the tape at the top of the pocket. Then flip the pocket over and cut as shown. I used an x-acto blade to carefully cut around the corners. Put double stick tape around the edges of the back of the pocket (I did not want to trust glue to hold those edges!) and carefully fold the edges over.
3. Flip over your pocket, and voila! Use an ink pad to darken the edges if you wish. I went around later with a dry brush of the gold metallic paint and added that to the edges as well.

4. Choose the paper you want to use behind the pocket, and glue that to the front of your pocket. Use and x-acto knife to trim around the top edge.

Once that's done, cover the back, and add a grommet to each pocket.

Thread a binder ring through the grommets, and you've got a fun little trading coin pocket book. Don't forget to add a tassel! For a complete list of supplies, click here.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Adventures in Needle Felting: Mouse and Squirrel

This weekend, I went on a retreat with a large group of people from Craftster.org. We had such a great time. Several people volunteered to give classes, and one of the classes I took was needle felting, something I've never done before. We were given all the supplies we needed, and our amazing instructor had us all make squirrels. Even though we were all rank amateurs, we did pretty well, in my unbiased opinion.

Well, I had roving left over, so I decided to try my hand at doing a little mouse.

His tail is a pipe cleaner wrapped with embroidery floss, which enables him to stand.

 If it's hot outside, a drink umbrella is the perfect size to shade him from the sun's hot rays.

He's a wee little thing!

And here's the squirrel (Dexter) that started it all. Needle felting is fun!
Cheeky bugger.

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