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.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Party Animals! Pet Portrait with Tutorial

I just participated in a swap on Craftster, and one thing I knew I had to do for my partner is paint a portrait of her adorable dogs. But not just any portrait, these dogs needed hats! Here's what I painted, and how it was done.

First,  here's the finished painting:

From left to right, that's Lola, Pete, and Jujube 

The tutorial:
1. Find pictures of each of the dogs, and size them in Photoshop to the exact size you need, and then print them out. Placed the in the positions you want them, trace them onto tracing paper, and cut a board the perfect size for your painting. Paint the background whatever color you desire, and then paint the sides and back black.

2. Use a pencil to cover the entire back of each dog image.

3. Carefully cut each dog out. Place them on the board, and trace around the border of each one. Use a ballpoint pen to draw over the eyes, nose, and any distinguishing marks on each dog. The pencil will act as carbon paper, and your board will have a paint-by-number look to it. The photo of Jujube I used was not in color, so I used other references to get her color and markings correct.

4. Lightly draw in the hats, and start to paint! Lay down large areas of color first.

5. Keep painting (and cursing, if necessary), until you are happy with the results. I use acrylic paints, so I can paint and repaint until I'm happy. If I get frustrated, I'll frequently prop the painting across the room and stare at it for until I can determine what's working and what still needs revision. Sometimes it helps to put it aside for a while and work on other projects. This is a photo of the painting in time out. Jujube, the dog on the right, is way too flat!

Paint it until you know it's the best it can be. I experimented with Copic markers on this painting, which worked out really well for the shadows on the hats. The tiara on Lola was done with tiny dots of silver glitter puff paint. I used a Copic marker to color some of the stones pink. The eyes of the two dogs on the ends originally weren't dark enough, so I colored over them with a grey marker to darken them up a bit. The marker is shinier than the paint alone in certain lights and in certain angles, but I gave the entire surface a couple of coats of matte Mod Podge, and everything blends right in.

I added the black lines around the edge of the painting with Sharpie pens because I really like having a border. I also sanded down all the sides; that's just a personal preference. 

Here's the finished painting in its new home, photo courtesy of my swap partner:

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Autumn Tin

I found some great scrapbook paper with beautiful fall colors and decided to make a little fall tin with it, using an old Altoids tin. I only have a few left that don't have that embossing on the lid, which makes me sad. But I love the acorns on this paper, and I'm always a sucker for polka dots, so I thought it was "tin worthy". (Anyone remember Elaine from Seinfeld trying to decide which of her dates were "sponge worthy"?)
The gold leaves on the front originally had rings on them for jewelry making. I simply snipped them off to make them fit.

Aren't these papers lovely? Definitely tin worthy!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Attic Finds

I was rooting around in the attic with my younger daughter, and came upon a box I had been holding for my parents. It was lightweight and had no markings, so I had to look inside. What a discovery! The box was full of old baby toys. I used to play with these back in the 60's, and I'm betting some of them may have belonged to my parents as well. They are all made of rubber, and they all squeak loudly. Ouch, poor baby's ears! Anyway, I am so excited, and have added these into the decor of my craft room.
For scale, the dog with the ring around its neck is about 12" tall. My daughter claimed the cat and the hammer, which I generously gave her with threats if they're not well taken care of. 

When I was little, that dog was my favorite toy. Now that I've grown, it's this clown!
How awesome is he?!?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day!

Here's a little 3D collage I made for Alpha Stamps. I was lucky that most of the letters in the alphabet blocks were already red, but it was easy to paint the others to match. I used Copic markers to give the little girl some color. Happy Valentine's day, and happy birthday to my older daughter: best Valentine I ever received.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Night Circus Memory Box

A good friend of mine gave me the book "Night Circus", and I absolutely loved it. Recently, I received a 3" memory box from Alpha Stamps, and decided a Night Circus theme would be just the thing to bring it to life. Here's the finished project:

It started out looking like this:

I painted the box black, and then covered the sides with striped scrapbook paper. I then added a border at the top, cut from contrasting paper. Images from a circus collage sheet (also from Alpha Stamps) were cut to fit. I punched out a few orange stars, and then added small seed beads at the tips of all the banners.

The legs were painted and distressed wooden candle cups, and the top finial was made with a wooden egg cup and a large wooden ball, also painted to match. I found the hinge (after much looking!) at Home Depot. Score!

And the sides: 
 If you haven't yet read "Night Circus", you should definitely add it to your reading list!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Extra Sweet Valentine ATCs

Alpha Stamps came up with a chipboard banner that's just perfect for ATCs, and what better use of a swaggy banner than some sentimental, oh-so-sweet Valentine ATCs? I'm usually more a fan of the dark and dreary (think Halloween!), but every now and then it's fun to pull out the pink and get all sappy. Here are a couple of ATCs I created with the new banner, some of the new Valentine collage sheets, and some other Alpha Stamps supplies.
So romantic! For this card, I covered the banner in a stripey scrapbook paper and then used a dark colored pencil to imitate folds. The pediment at the top is from the Valentine Banners collage sheet, which has tons of great boarders. I will be using that for making Valentines, if I indeed get around to it. 

Here's cupid, coming your way! I probably should have photographed this on a darker background, because it's difficult to see the lacy accent at the top of the swag.
Don't you love that little heart ribbon at the top of the card? I picked that up at my favorite local supply store, Impressive Ideas. If you're anywhere near Roswell, GA, you're going to want to go visit sometime. Bring your checkbook! I can't ever get out of there without finding all sorts of things I wasn't even aware I needed.

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