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, March 21, 2020

Five Shrines

I love the bright colors of Mexican folk art, and I love making little shrines, so these little matchbox shrine facades that just came out at Alpha Stamps make me so happy. For the past week or two, I have been busy making shrines. All the bright colors! The fronts are chipboard, while the little niches are matchboxes. (I have so many extra matches now!)

The first shrine I did was all about Cosmopolitan martinis, so I painted the exterior a bright pink with a red border. It's embellished with polymer clay limes and pink leaves, and the niche features a miniature Cosmo drink (a tutorial for making the tiny Cosmo can be found here). The small metal saint is painted in Cosmo colors, and she's offering up a slice of lime! This shrine will be the perfect addition to the Cosmo shelf in my kitchen. 

My next shrine was made before the Corona virus threat got real, but in light of all the news of the hour, I'm calling this one the "I See Coronavirus" shrine. I used a small loteria card for the niche, and a bright red eyeball at the top. The eye sits on a round filigree setting. I painted the tiny flowers on the filigree to match the colors of the shrine border. The perfect black lines are Dazzles Thin Line stickers.


On this next shrine, I first painted the facade a bright turquoise and then searching for an image to feature in the niche. I found the perfect one on the Loteria Matchbox Shrines collage sheet. The saint was painted in the same light turquoise used for the interior of the niche. A bronze metal flower makes the perfect halo for the saint. Metal roses on the sides, along with polymer clay leaves give a bright pop of color.

Oh no, it's the devil! This is another shrine where I chose the color first, and then the image. The flames were painted on chipboard, then cut out and glued to the front. I could not resist making a few tiny demons suffer in those flames.

This image of the Madonna is just so beautiful. It was the first thing I chose for this shrine. I then picked the paint colors to coordinate with the image. Gold Dresden trim and halos work perfectly with this heavenly theme.

All these bright colors look so fun together. I think I'm going to need another set of facades so I can make more.
For a list of supplies, click here.


Saturday, February 29, 2020

The Bunny Circus Eggstravaganza

The March kit from Alpha Stamps is here! So many chicks and bunnies; spring is on the way, which means Easter is not far behind. I love some Easter art, but I found a collage sheet entitled "Circus Chicks", and you sure can't go wrong with that! I made my Little Niche Egg shrine into a tiny springtime circus, because why not?

I fell in love with the little chick in its clown costume, and decided to work around him. Sure, he's not a bunny, but he is, at least, now sporting the bunny ears. For the background, I found the perfect circus image from the Big Top Circus collage sheet, and made it the background of my niche. I used two copies of the circus collage sheet so I could cut out the flags and banners and attach them with foam tape for added dimension. I also cut out the ball, and attached it with two layers of foam tape to bring it to the forefront.

Every circus needs a ringmaster, but the rabbit image I wanted to use had his head facing away from the action. I cut out the body of that rabbit and used the head from a different rabbit from the same collage sheet. Now he's paying attention!

The chick on the collage sheet appears to be wearing an eye patch, so I colored the patch yellow to match his head, and added a couple of crazy eyes. The eyes I used are designed for fishing flies; they were the perfect size for this crazy little clown chick. Because the eyes are plastic, it was easy to trim his left eye so it looks like it sits behind his beak. I also gave him some bunny ears, cut from the original head of the ringmaster bunny. Now he fits in with the other rabbit performers.

Here are a few photos of how this project came together. I first chose the image of the chick, and the circus background, and then the perfect piece of scrapbook paper from the Echo Dot Summer Dots and Stripes 6x6 pad that coordinated with those colors. The dotted paper was glued to the egg, and then carefully trimmed with an x-acto knife. Some baker's twine was glued around the outer edge. The circus image was adhered to the back and sides of the cardboard niche, which was then glued together with white glue. Clothespins work great for holding things together while the glue dries.

The niche was put in place and the flaps glued to the back of the egg. Masking tape held down the flaps during drying time. The hanger was also glued on at this time.

White Dresden trim around the opening reminds me of those sugar eggs with the scene in them that I used to love as a kid. I tried it out to make sure I liked it before gluing it down. In the photo below, the flags in the circus background have not yet been doubled up. That was my next step.

See how the flags pop, now that there's an extra layer? After the egg was put together, the outside was decorated with all the elements. The chipboard grass was greened up with a combo of paint and colored pencils. I used three clusters to make the Easter grass that the egg sits in.
Thanks for visiting the bunny circus! For a complete list of supplies, click here.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Teeny Tiny Circus Shriney

I had the smallest of jeweler's tins sitting around for the longest time, and decided to make a tiny shrine out of it. Luckily, I found a teeny tiny image of an elephant, so of course I made a circus shrine. It sits on a bead cap, and features some miniscule sequined stars. Here it is, with a penny for scale.

Not much else to say about this one. 😀

Saturday, February 1, 2020

KCTV, Altered Tin, with Tutorial

It's February,  and who's ready for some valentines? Me and Alpha Stamps, that's who! Let's tune in to KCTV (KittyCat TV, of course) for some good old-fashioned Valentine's Day fun. I love the vintage charm of these cheerful kittens; they remind me of my elementary school days, and valentines from my classmates.


The new retro tv, designed for use with Altoids sized tins, is perfect for this sweet kitty scene. And these cats know how to celebrate! Some happy sprinkles make this Valentine's party extra festive. I pulled a few hearts out of the sprinkles for little dimensional accents behind the kitten's heads, and on the front of the television.

Even the back of the tv is full of feline love.

Here's how KCTV was built. After deciding the theme of the program, I first decorated the tin. The cats were all cut out, then layered with foam tape to give dimension. A thick layer of glue was applied to the bottom of the tin, which was then sprinkled with... sprinkles! In the photo below, you can see the speaker vents in the upper corner of the tv. I wanted to preserve those, so I colored that area with a red marker so they will match the red paper that will be used on the front.

To cut the paper where the vents will show through, I traced the tv on the wrong side of the paper, and used a pencil to mark where the vents are. I then used an x-acto knife to cut out one hole for the vent area.  I used a red marker to draw around the opening. This will help this area blend in with the red paper. Then, the front of the tv was glued down and cut out along the edges with the x-acto.

Below you can see the finished front of the tv, and the back of the back. I did not put paper on the entirety of the insides of the tv, as the back of each piece won't show once it's fully constructed. The "brass" bottoms of the legs were painted with gold metallic paint, and a silver Sharpie was used for the antenna. A grey Copic marker was used on the red legs to make them look like they're set back a bit from the tv cabinet. I used a red Copic marker around the lip of the tin, in case any showed through once the tv facade was attached. A little bit of the turquoise paper is glued behind the speaker.

Here's how to make sure your tv is sturdy: glue the tin to the front of the tv first. Once that's good and dry, put lots of glue on the back of the tin and sandwich the two parts together. While the glue is wet, use some blocks (or whatever you have handy that will work) to make sure the back and front are exactly lined up. Let dry.

Once it's completely dry, you can add the antennas, paint the knobs and add any other embellishments to the front and call it a day. I did want to add some sides, though. A 12" long piece of the same red scrapbook paper is just enough to go from the outside of one leg, all around the top and other side of the tin, to the outside of the other leg. Cut the paper to the width of the side. I cut a notch in the paper to accommodate the antenna, so I glued the paper at the top of the tv first. Then one side at a time, I glued the paper around the curves. Be patient and hold that paper in place for a bit while it dries! You'll have to trim the paper a bit when it gets to the legs. I went ahead and cut another piece to finish the bottom. That piece was notched for the legs as shown below.

Now sit back and enjoy the show! 💕 For a complete list of supplies, click here.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Vintage Santa Altered Tin

Three years ago, I found a bunch of delightfully creepy vintage Santas at a flea market. They had a whole bowl of them available, but I thought they were a little pricey at $5 apiece. Now of course, I wish I had taken them all. But, I picked out two of the best (worst?) ones to use in craft projects. One, I used immediately, and the other has been hanging around on my desk since. Until now. I finally realized that all he really needed was an Altoids tin.

His outfit probably used to be bright red, but it has really faded out through the years. I was glad I had some Christmas papers with muted colors.

I didn't want to permanently attach him in any way, so I stuck a pin through the background paper and he's just impaled there, much like the way you would display a bug. A little tart tin makes a great base for this piece.

I'm glad I finally gave him a home. He seems happier now. As for his buddy, he still enjoys ringing Christmas in every year on his sleigh.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Gnomes and Other Woodland Friends

Happy 2020! Here are my first few projects of the new year, and they can definitely be described as "cute", largely in part to the awesome wooden woodland cutouts I just got from Alpha Stamps. Some of the details are wood burned, so they're super easy to paint if you get yourself a tiny brush.

I loved the way that little gnome fit perfectly into an old jewelry box. Using a background cut from scrapbook paper and some mushrooms I painted, I created a little world for him to live in.

He seems pretty comfortable there. Now if I could only get that glass to not reflect/hide the color when taking photos...

Next, I painted the set of four gnomes. I gave each of them a bright color and some fun polka dots and stripes. From the base to the tip of their hats, these little fellows are about 2" tall.


They needed somewhere to be, so I cut out a background of black scrapbook paper and added a moon from a Cosmos Bark paper. The base of the gnomes was painted black and grey to blend in with the background. These little gnomes can stand on their own, so they may end up just living on my desk as is, but I might add them to the front of a book or box. No matter where they end up, I think they're adorable.

I couldn't stop without using one of the adorable hedgehogs. I used a large jeweler's tin for the base of this project. An image from the Lucky Mushrooms collage sheet makes the perfect background, and then I just added a little forest floor, a 3D mushroom, and a tiny ladybug to complete the scene.

A small leaf garland and crepe ribbon wrap the outside, and it's all tied up with a bow. This was a fun, quick little piece. Bonus: I still have squirrels, acorns, leaves, and another hedgehog to play with later!
For a complete list of supplies, click here.
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