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.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Queen of Everything

I decided I love making peg dolls. Here's one I made for a friend. It's supposed to be a representation of her. She's such an awesome person that I decided she should be the Queen of Everything! Don't you love her little crown? I wish I could remember where I got that. I need to do a search.

The Queen carries a shiny scepter and a nice banner proclaiming her royal title.

Here she is ignoring you in a wonderfully royal way.
I will definitely be making more peg dolls in the future!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Vintage Look Christmas Ornament

Do you ever just wake up and think, "I need to make something today."? I did, just this morning. I didn't want to just start something, I wanted to spend a little time in the craft room and make a little project, start to finish.

So, a Christmas ornament. I used a round tin, some scrapbook paper, micobeads, faux pearls, some tinsel, a few rhinestone stars, and a bottlebrush tree and a little vintage plastic Santa.

The snow on the bottom is Apoxie Sculpt clay with microbeads pushed into it. The clay is so great to use because I just simply pushed the tree and the Santa into it and it holds them in place. 
Not a lot to it, but I love its sweet, simple vintage look. And it looks great on the tree.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Christmas Stocking Gift Card Holders

I love giving gift cards, but I hate just handing over a plain card. I want there to be some sort of little gift involved. This year, here's the way I'm presenting some of the gift cards I'm giving away: in little stockings! Alpha Stamps has some chipboard stockings that were specially sized for gift cards. And after the card is gone, the stockings can be used as ornaments.

I layered lots of strips of scrapbook paper to get the stripey effect. The back of the stocking has a little pocket that the card fits in.

Here's a detail of one of the stockings. I used Dazzles Black Thin Lines Stickers cut into small pieces to mimic the stitching on the heel, toe, and top of the stocking. And don't forget the jingle bells!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Christmas Shrines, Putz Style

I love the sparkle and simplicity of Putz houses. They are such wonderful retro Christmas decorations. Alpha Stamps has just started carrying mini masonite circus shrines, and I received a couple to work with. Leslie, owner of Alpha Stamps, asked me if I was going to decorate them as Christmas or circus, and as we talked, the idea of "Christmas circus" took hold. Measuring in at just 3" wide, the shrines were the perfect size for a tiny village. Thus, I present to you a "Christmas Circus Putz Shrine". Here's Santa, a tree, and a festive Christmas elephant, all in a little tent, sparkled up with Micro Beads.

This was my first go-round using Micro Beads, and I really love the way they look. It makes me want to glitter all the things! However, while I really like the way this turned out, there were a few things I wanted to improve on. For example, the beads distort any pattern a bit, so the tiny letters spelling out "Christmas" in the banner are fairly illegible. Also, I did not cover the sides of the facade, so the seams are dark, which I think distracts from the light snowy effect I was going for.

Here's my next, more successful shrine, along with some in progress photos and some tips I learned, in case you want to make your own:

As you can see, the sides of the facade have painted red to coordinate with the paper I used on the front. Much better! I used gesso first to have a good light base to paint on. Here are the steps I took to make this project:

1. If you're planning on painting any surfaces, cover them with gesso first. For this putz, I painted the base, the flag, and the banner (not shown in this photo). I originally planned to paint the outside solid as well, so in this photo, it's white with the gesso coat. I did not like the way the joints showed when the putz was put together, so ended up covering the back and sides with paper. Notice on the two parts with the stars on them, which will be the inside of the shrine, that the decorative paper doesn't overlap the tabs. That's so things will fit together properly when it's time for gluing.

2. Cover all the inside surfaces with Incredi-Sheets, which are large sized sheets of double stick tape. Trim the tape to fit only the area covered with paper: keep those tabs clean! Once adhered, peal off the top protective layer of the tape, and cover with the micro beads. I find it useful to keep my beads in a flat Tupperwear bowl; it keep them from rolling around and getting loose, and later, you can pop the lid on for storage. I held the piece to be covered, sticky side down, and pressed it into the beads until it was fully coated. Once you pull it out, use your fingers to press all the beads down firmly, and then brush any excess beads back into your bowl.

3. Once all your interior pieces have been beaded, assemble the outer walls and base of the shrine. Hold firmly while the glue sets.

4. Here's how I treated the back of the tent shaped facade. Since only the top part shows, I covered and beaded only that part. Doing so assures that none of the joints that will be glued have any extra layers on them. I used one strip of paper to cover the top and sides of the exterior of the shrine. In the first example I made, I covered the top and sides separately before assembly, which made the seams too dark. Using one piece of paper to cover the top and sides made for a much cleaner look.

Once the front is attached, decorate the inside to your heart's content! I had fun using a mixture of Alpha Stamps products, and some little vintage Santas I had. Here's a list of products I used, plus links of where to get them.
Mixed Star Sequins (first shrine)
Tiny Red Tree Garland (first shrine)
Red Adhesive Pearls  (second shrine)
White Plastic Pearls (second shrine)

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Altered Arts Magazine

My Christmas tin was featured this month in Altered Arts Magazine! The Christmastime Projects Bonus issue is available now, and you can download it free at: There are several fun projects in this issue. Happy Christmas!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Pixie and Trixie, the Peppermint Twins

One thing I love about Craftster is the opportunity to swap with other members. My partner in the Vintage Christmas swap just received the package I sent her, so now I can post it here. She had a lot of peg dolls on her Pinterest, and I thought they were adorable, so I decided to try my hand at making a couple. She named them Pixie and Trixie, the Peppermint Twins, which I think suits them to a tee.

I gave each of the girls something to hold: the brunette has a couple of Christmas packages and an oversized ornament, while the blonde is holding a tiny tree and a "Merry Christmas" banner. Originally I designed them to both hold a banner that said "joy", but I really wasn't happy with the way it looked, so I decided they'd each be happier standing on their own.

Here's the blonde. The banner was cut from a sheet of scrapbook paper. Its flagstaff is a bamboo skewer. Both of the skirts were made by hand sewing a pre-made ruffle around the peg pin. 

The brunette's ski cap is actually an acorn top. I glittered around the bottom and made a little clay pom pom for the top.

Here's an adorable "vintage" shot my partner took. I love this effect!
I have four more sets of pegs to make other dolls. Hmmm.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

I really loved having a banner on my mantel at Halloween, so I decided to make one for Thanksgiving as well. I was going to write the word "thankful", but that just seemed so long. I decided to make more of a fall banner instead. One with no letters in it!

I cut each flag pennant out of shirt cardboard, and then layered them with scrapbook paper and green paper ribbon. I used my trusty Martha Stewart paper scorer to make the medallions (thanks, Martha!). The adorable acorn buttons and tiny clothespins came from Alpha Stamps, as did the oak leaf cutouts and tiny pinecones. I put a butterfly on one of the pennants just for fun.

One more view:

And just for fun, a little something I made with more leaf cutouts. I have no idea what this is or what I will do with it. 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

More From Camp: Teeny Tiny Shriney

I was fortunate enough to take a class from Michael DeMeng last week, entitled "Teeny Tiny Shriney". He is the best! He taught us all about mixing paints to age and integrate parts to make a cohesive shrine. Here's what I made in his class, out of one of the tiny-sized Altoids tins. The sides were built up with Aves Apoxie Sculpt clay, my new favorite art supply! This clay was also used to adhere heavy and/or oddly shaped items, such as the rusty bottle cap, the typewriter key, and the small finial at the bottom of the shrine.

Most of the parts I brought from home, but I purchased the awesome "floating shift" typewriter key and the Japanese doll hand there. My friend Lora, who attended art camp with me, was nice enough to give me the eye, which really makes the piece. 

I have been saving that perfect half-circle rusty bottle cap forever. I'm glad it finally found the home it deserves.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Mixed Media Works from Art Camp

I recently went to art camp! It was actually an art retreat hosted by Art Is...You, and it was a blast! We took several classes and learned so much. The creative energy was contagious. It was like finding your people, all in one place.

One of my favorite classes was "Don't Take Yourself Too Seriously", taught by LorriMarie Jenkins. She was so fun and encouraging. The class focused on just having fun with your art. We had a six hour time period and we all made two pieces, both measuring 12" by 12". What?!? I am a plodder and a thinker! I need more planning time! But not in this class...I really learned to trust my instincts, and I was pleasantly surprised at the outcome.

Here's my first piece:

We layered each board with old book pages, then used lots of torn paper and fabric to add texture. Once we had a base collage, we added a copy of an old photograph and embellished it with ears or hats. This one has a mask because I accidentally ripped the image around her eye area. No problem; I just cut out some eyes from a moon image and slapped them down. Once we had the image of the woman on, we coated the entire piece with Mod Podge, and then gessoed everything except the image. I got way too heavy with the gesso on this one, but that's why we make two, to learn from our mistakes.

Once the gesso was down, we added in color using glaze, and then painted in details like polka dots.

Here are some details so you can get a better idea of the layers:

Burlap makes for great texture:

All that, before lunch!

After lunch, we started on our second work. On this one, I used more papers and less gesso. The text says, "the moonlight becomes her". In case you're wondering, that's Mrs. Grover Cleveland there. I hope she doesn't mind that I gave her a butterfly wing headdress!

Some details:

I may hang it in my turquoise bathroom, because the color really works with the wall color:

If you ever have a chance to go to an art retreat, do it! It was so incredibly inspiring. I have so many projects I'm dying to do now. Plus, I learned a lot of new techniques and worked with materials I'd never heard of, like the amazing Stabilo 8046 pencil, which outlines in a lovely dark black, but is water soluble, so you can feather a lovely shadow out from it. You can see this on the outer edge and around the images of the women in both of my pieces.

I have more to share from art camp. I'll try to get a few posts up this weekend. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

October First

Happy October! I'm celebrating Halloween this year with a new Halloween banner, made with supplies from Alpha Stamps. I had so much fun making this, and it looks great on my mantel with some of my Halloween decorations. I really tried to jazz this banner up with rhinestone stars, Jolee's boutique skull cameos, and tons of trim, ribbon, and ric rac.

The center spells out "boo" in some orange-painted alphabet letters from Tim Holtz, mounted on accordion-fold medallions. 
Here's one of my favorite pennants, because I love this crazy chipboard bat cut-out.  I gave it a little detail with a white colored pencil, and slapped some cat eyes on there so he can see in the dark.

Just for fun, here's another view of the mantel. It's starting to look spooky around here!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Halloween Fun with Spellbinders

When Spellbinders recently sent me some stickpins with corresponding dies and some new embossing plates, I immediately chose to do a Halloween themed craft. After all, ’tis the season!
I made a little witchy collage for the stickpin, and then a Halloween tag to display the pin on. To get the creepy background look on the tag, I embossed a plain manilla tag using the Artisan X-Plorer embosser along with the “Poetry” embossing plate, and then lightly inked the tag to highlight the embossed areas. I then layered the tag with some Halloween papers and a couple of bats. What a great setting for my stickpin!

To make the stickpin, I cut out a piece of orange cardstock using the correct die. I found an image of a little girl, gave her a witch’s hat cut from some scrapbook paper, and then embellished it all with glitter and a couple of rhinestones. I outlined it all with thin black edge stickers to make the image pop.  The stickpin is attached to the card with a removable glue dot, so you can easily remove it for wear. It’s the perfect little Halloween gift for your favorite witch or goblin!

Recently, I’ve been doing a lot of playing with my Artisan X-Plorer, and it’s not been all about Halloween. I’ve made stationery, bookmarks, and different stickpins for every day wear, and they’re all posted on Craftster! Check them out and find out how handy the Artisan X-Plorer is for all your embossing and die-cutting needs.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Batty Boo Blocks

More little trick or treaters! I had my sweet hubby cut some 2" by 4" pieces of wood for me, and I painted and collaged these "Batty Boo Blocks". This is my favorite Halloween craft I've done this year, but I'm certain there will be more to come.

I used some gorgeous orange paper by BoBunny, plus some chipboard bat wings and some images of kids from Alpha Stamps collage sheets. Because the bat wings are thick, the kids are raised up a bit from the background block. Here they are as individuals. 

Marta, the little witch:

Franklin, the wizard:

 Reagan, the poisoner (she scares me a little):

And Michael, the masked:
Trick or treat!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Four Happy Jacks

This weekend, I'm heading out of town with my mom, mother in law, and sister, for our annual girls' weekend. I can't wait! We usually try to get each other little gifties, just for fun. In the past, I've done little goodie bags for everyone, but this year, I did something different. Michaels has their plastic pumpkins on sale, so I bought four of the little ones and painted them up for Halloween. Happy Jacks! I love them all together, so once I give three away, I may go purchase a couple more so I can line my mantle.

I gave my MIL first choice, and she chose Jack #2, the craziest one. That was my fave, too!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Augustus and Edgar Prepare for Halloween, now with better photos

Halloween is the one time of the year that Augustus feels he can spread his glorious bat wings and be himself. Here he poses with his pet raven, Edgar, in eager anticipation of the big day.

This is made from another style of atc hutch from Alpha Stamps. It's similar to the one I used in Melancholy Circus, but this Halloween hutch has a spooky spiderweb header, and comes with three decorative skulls (I used the two smaller skulls) and a masonite bat (not used).

To get the glittery effect on the web, I painted the header black and then gave it a good spray of copper colored Glimmer Mist. I used tracing paper to determine how to cut the black and white paper around the web.

The sides are covered with orange cardstock with a lovely black web-like ribbon layered on top to give it texture and added spookiness.

Augustus and the raven stand out from the background with the help of adhesive foam. Happy Halloween!

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