December 28, 2010

Tim Holtz 12 Tags - Finished!

Hey there!

Hope you had a wonderful Christmas and were able to spend special time with family and friends.  We had a wonderful Christmas Eve with my family and then spent Christmas Day with Jack's family.  It works out great for us - we can spread out the holiday cheer over two days rather than trying to cram it all in to one... much better.

Anyway... I've been using my holiday time to finish up this year's 12 Tags of Christmas by Tim Holtz.  Here's the remaining tags....

(Day 12 - I didn't have the ornament die, so decided to do the *extra* tag at the bottom of that day's post).

(Day 6 - love this texture fade technique of stamping onto the texture fade *before* running it through the machine! Genius Mr. Tim....)

(Day 7 - I made this tag once and hated it so much I literally ripped off all the elements and started over... like this one much better.  I used the pointsettia and leaf stamps from Paper Artsy and cut them apart into individual petals/leaves - then followed the rest of Tim's instructions.  I just couldn't get that tattered floral die to look right... all about improvisation right?)

 (Day 8 - OK - I have to admit - I really didn't like Tag #8.  I'm not a fan of the extreme masking technique - it just looks messy to me, and not in a good way.  So... I decided to pick the other elements of the tag that I did like and work with those.  I loved the houses at the bottom, loved the twisted wire smoke plumes, and loved the idea of Santa/Reindeer flying over the houses.  I swiped pearl paint dabber over the entire tag first, then inked over that with various DI colors and wiped over the pearl areas to reveal.  I like how it turned out...)

(Day 11 - Ok - another confession - when I started this tag I went to my vintage dictionary, which I rescued from the supply room at the office, turned to the page where "sleigh" would be and *squealed* !!  I had the EXACT same dictionary page that Tim used - sleigh and all!  So what did I do??? I proceeded to glue the tag on TOP of that page... DUUUHHHHHHH!!!! Yup, covered that sleigh right up!  Needless to say I was NOT pleased....But.... the tag turned out OK despite the initial mishap....)

(And here's the whole collection from this year!  They always look great when you put them all together.  I've now done all 12 from 2010 and 2009, and 4 others from 2007 & 2008.  Which means.... 28 tags down.... 20 still to go... ughhhh.  I'll do the Tags of Christmas Past a little at a time.)

(Day 8 Re-Make --- I actually gave my tag from day 8 to a good friend of mine at work, so I had to re-make it.  Did a slightly different color pallete, using green letters instead of my initial red, and added a prima rose instead of buttons.)

Phew!  That's a lot of tags... I'm happy to be finished with this year's collection - and looking forward to doing the ones from the past over time.

I've found a BRILLIANT way to display the tags and will be working on that in the coming weeks.  If you want to check it out - click HERE and go to Christie's blog - genius!

Tonight I'm going to Queen's Ink to take a class with Jenni Bowlin!  We'll be altering vintage hardcover books - should be FUN!  I'll take pix and share tomorrow.  Have a great day!!!

~ ellen.

December 24, 2010 video

Hi everone,

I HAD to share this.... produced this awesome retro holiday video - it's adorable and so professional!  check it out...

Merry Christmas!  Safe travels if you're on the road, and hope you have a magical day!


~ ellen  :)

Tim Holtz 12 Tags - Day 6

Hi everyone,

I can't believe it's Christmas Eve!  My wrapping is (almost) done!  Looking forward to some family gatherings over the next few days - we're fortunate that both our families live locally, so we don't have to travel over Christmas.  I've taken next week OFF so I'm really looking forward to some *down* time. 

As I said yesterday I've actually had some spare time and have gotten back to working on Tim's 12 Tags of Christmas.  Today I worked on the tag from Day 6.  Here we go...

The only thing I changed was the message.  Tim had used a different stamp which I didn't have, so I used the "believe" stamp instead. 

Oh... and again, I didn't have the mini-garland Tim used, but I found this cool mini-tinsel so made my wreath out of that. 

Keeping these short and sweet, since everyone is probably OD'ing on hearing every detail of how these tags are made.... plus I could never describe it as accurately as Tim.... check it out HERE if you're interested.

Hope you've been "good" this year and get something special from Santa.... Have a very merry Christmas!  Be back soon!



December 23, 2010

Tim Holtz 12 Tags - Day 1


I've had some time the last few days and have gotten back to Tim's 12 Tags of Christmas!  Last night I started working on Tag #1, since I received the Rickety House cut out that I got while I was England (and then proceeded to *leave* it in England!).  Thanks to Jennie for giving me the diecut image and Hels for mailing it to me! 

Here's my take on Tag #1...

I kept this one pretty much the same as Tim's, except I added a snowflake facet charm to the top, and did a slightly different wreath, since i couldn't find that mini-garland Tim used. 

Here's a few close ups...

I didn't do the custom ink pad for the ticket, I just inked the three distinct areas of the stamp separately (black for the ticket number, fired brick for the "25" and pine needles for the Merry Christmas) - and then stamped & embossed - turned out fine.  Plus I can't find the cut 'n' dry felt in my LSS....

I'll be back with more over the holidays!  I'm determined to get them all done!

Hope you're all ready for Christmas - my shopping is done (presents AND food) - just have to wrap!


~ ellen.

December 21, 2010

My first TSS metal project!


It's been quite a while since I posted anything... (*bad blogger*)... but I have been busy playing with Ten Seconds Studio metal!  When I was in England, Hels gave me a private lesson and I am now.... well... *addicted* !!!  Seriously, this stuff is SO COOL!  I'm a little behind the curve getting on this particular bandwagon, but I have definitely jumped on board! 

For my first project, I altered a mirror from IKEA, doing a sampler using 3x3 chipboard squares to cover the front of the frame.  Here it is!

(*disregard slightly dirty mirror.... oops....*)

I'll start with the top left tile and "read" down... left to right, then down...

Used the gears mold on black metal, sanded off the high spots, and added TH ideaology gears and the "imagine" tag.

On this tile, I started with brown metal and the swirly mold.  Then I did the "scribbly, scribbly" technique on the debossed areas (thanks to Lin Brown for the technical terminology!), sanded off the high spots, then added some pesto alcohol ink to give it a patina look.  Added the house stamp by PaperArtsy stamped on gold metal and refined all the stamped areas, and added the "home" in Maya Road chipboard letters, painted with a copper paint dabber.

Started with mustard color metal and the cross-hatch/basketweave mold, sanded, then aged with some brown paint dabber.  Then added the TH bookplate.  Cut a piece of metal in the oval shape, hammered in some texture, added some microbeads and poured clear UTEE into the middle.  

Gold metal with a celtic mold (sorry, I don't know all the mold numbers yet.... bear with me...).  Did "scribbly, scribbly" and "dotty, dotty" technique in the debossed areas, sanded the high spots, aged with black paint.  Added a UTEE crown with bronze perfect pearls, a small square facet by TH colored with butterscotch alcohol ink, and some silver beads in the recessed area.

Red metal with a different celtic mold, did the scribbly and dotty techniques, aged with black paint, then added a TH curio knob colored with butterscotch alcohol ink.

Poison Ivy metal with a fiskars texture plate - works great!   The picture doesn't show it too well, but I smooshed some copper stickles over the entire tile for a little extra interest.  The texture isn't as deep as the TSS molds, but I still like the look, and as I'm still building up my mold collection, I needed to extend the variety of textures for this project!   Added a black UTEE face mold and another bookplate.

Brown metal with another celtic mold, did the scribbly and dotty techniques on the inside of the celtic design, then added glossy accents over all the inside sections.  Outside the design I used the brass brush in a circular pattern to scratch off the color and give a contrasting finish.  Then added a vintage silver button to the middle.

And, finally, black metal with a random pattern mold, sanded the high spots, added some INKA GOLD in copper, and then added some TH type charms with antique typewriter style numbers with clear epoxy stickers over top.  Added those to the piece with brads - which nicely match the design in that section, thank you very much.... :)

I painted the whole frame black and glued each tile to the frame with GOOP glue.  Phew!  

This was a long-term project for me, and I absolutely loved it!  I'll definitely be doing more TSS projects - stay tuned!!  If you're interested in learning more about Ten Seconds Studio, check out their Taco Tuesday videos - they're hysterical (and informative, too). 

Thanks again to HELS for getting me started!  She's created a metal monster!!

Wishing you all a very merry Christmas!!  I finished my shopping today, so I'm all set!  

Looking forward to a long Christmas break - I have lots of projects planned! 

Hugs to all,

~ ellen.

December 11, 2010

Tim Holtz 12 Tags - Day 5

Hi-ho!  (*or should I say... ho-ho-ho??? 'tis the season after all...*)

I've had a crafty morning working away on Tag #5 - again trying to make up for lost time on Tim Holtz' 12 Tags of Christmas....

Once again, I've made some changes from Tim's design.... some based on lack of stamps/supplies, and some just based on my own preferences... Here we go....

First major change... different, multi-colored DI background, and no santa stamp... I've gotta be honest... that Santa stamp has always freaked me out a little... don't know why.... SO.... I tried every *other* santa stamp I owned and none of them worked for me... so I went with the "December" stamp. Stamped it on grungepaper and inked it with Forest Moss DI, and inked the edges with a Krylon Gold pen - simple.

Next change.... the Merry Christmas stamp.... I really love the Hambly vintage Christmas rub-ons, so decided to use this greeting instead - looks lovely on the dark background.  The "25" numbers are grungeboard - used the same technique - white paint dabber with UTEE over top - the paint got a little bubbly under the heat gun, but I sort of like the "pitted" look.  

I pulled the facet/alcohol ink technique from a previous tag - love the look!

Inked the edges of all the elements of the tag with the Krylon gold pen - rediscovered that recently and I'm loving it!

Hope you're having fun playing along with Tim this year - I know I am!

~ ellen.

December 10, 2010

Tim Holtz 12 Tags - Day 3


I'm on a mission to get through all of Tim Holtz' 12 Tags of Christmas, and today I was able to "make up" a tag today, going back and doing the tag from Day 3.  Also - this week's theme over on the Compendium of Curiosities Challenge is to use Rock Candy distress stickles.... (see bird)...

Here it is...

I made a few changes from Tim's original design... I thought the tissue tape flower needed a little color, so I swiped some alcohol ink on the edges to tie in with the red bird....

I also did some watercolor distress ink painting, to give a brown tone to the branch.  I used walnut stain.

And... I thought that the salvage sticker with the three birds was a better fit for this tag, so I chose to use that one instead....

I'm waiting on an order of supplies I need to do some of the other tags, so hopefully I won't get any *further* behind while I'm waiting.... I'll be back when there's more to share!

Have a great weekend!  TGIF!!!

~ ellen.

Tim Holtz 12 Tags - Day 10

I'm back!

I'm on a roll, staying on task with Tim Holtz' 12 Tags of Christmas, at least with the current day's tag, even though I still have 5 days left to make up.... I'll get there.... Here's my tag from Day 10...

I stuck pretty much to Tim's process this time... the only thing I did differently was the ribbon/scarf.  I've run out of the trimmings ribbon, and I remembered the technique from last year's snowman (Tag #1 last year), creating wired ribbon, so though I'd try that again.  I love the technique because it allows the scarf to look like it's blowing in the wind and adds some dimension.

The technique is super easy... just take a length of ribbon - twice the length you think you'll need.  Then add a strip of tacky tape (you know, the kind with the orange backing) and run it down 1/2 the length of the ribbon.  Remove the orange backing to expose the other sticky side.  Then take a thin gauge craft wire and place it directly into the tacky tape.  Fold the other 1/2 of the ribbon over the sticky side to make a wire/ribbon sandwich... presto!  Wired ribbon!

I love the look of the embossed acetate over the tag - my embossing doesn't show up too well in these photos, and didn't turn out quite as pronounced as in Tim's example, but I really like the idea of a clear overlay.  Will be trying that again for sure.

I'll be back later with another tag.... have a great evening!

~ ellen.

December 9, 2010

Tim Holtz 12 Tags - Day 9


Well - I'm doing Tag #9 on Day #9.... sounds good, right?  Alas.... I still have a lot of catching up to do with Tim Holtz' 12 Tags of Christmas, but I'm having a ball with the ones I've done so far.  And since it's the Holiday Season, I'm submitting this tag for this week's Simon Says Stamp & Show Challenge, which is to share a holiday greeting! 

Here's my take on today's tag:

I wanted to add a punch of color, so I did the "peace on earth" in red, instead of black.  As it happens, I couldn't find any silver tinsel, only the tri-color in gold/green/red, so it turned out great to bring a little more red in.

I wasn't crazy about the heart/crown combo for the rosette center (not very Christmas-y to me), so I went with a vintage crochet button, that I inked with brushed corduroy and spritzed with heirloom gold perfect pearl mist.  I also added a Maya Road star trinket pin to the rosette, instead of more baubles hanging from the ribbon... I've run out!

Added another vintage crochet button to the trio of buttons on the side for consistency.  I love how this shot shows the glimmer from the perfect pearl mist - that stuff is starting to grow on me - wasn't sure in the beginning...

I wasn't paying close enough attention when making the holes for all the brads across the bottom - mine are spaced VERY close together.... but I like the look anyway....

Hope you're all having fun playing along - I know I am.... see you soon with more Tags!


~ ellen.

December 8, 2010

WOYWW - Back in the home office.... (*SOB*)

Hello crafty peeps!

Can't believe it's already Wednesday again.... time to hop around the blogosphere peeping at crafty desks.... If you're wondering what this is all about, head on over to Julia's blog to check it out and join in the fun.... I'm so nosey.... always looking for new ideas... it's fun!

Yes, it's true, I'm back in the *home office*, so to speak.... Back home from my A-M-A-Z-I-N-G trip to England to stay with Hels.  You may have heard me mention it once or twice.... we did have an amazing time together and I'm so happy we got to know each other *in person* instead of just via email, blogs and skype.  In person is MUCH better.

Here's my desk.... can you say train wreck?  I've managed to unpack all my newly bought *stash* - LOTS of PaperArtsy stamps, Ten Second Studio molds, Stichels (Stitc-HELS, get it?) stamps (big surprise, right?), etc. etc.  But still a big pile of random STUFF to put away. 

And of course I'm becoming consumed with keeping up with Tim's 12 Tags of Christmas - I am woefully behind - only done TWO so far out of SEVEN.... I'm hoping to catch up this weekend, wish me luck!  Here are the two I've done so far....

Hope you're having a great week - see you around!


~ ellen. xx

December 7, 2010

Tim Holtz 12 Tags - Facets

Hello again!

I'm on a roll now!  Still playing along with Tim Holtz's 12 Tags of Christmas.  Finally doing the first tag yesterday got me all excited about doing more, so I'm at it again tonight.  This time I worked on the tag from Day 4 - which is all about facets and alcohol ink resist.  Here's the result:

I must admit to you... I was SO excited when I noticed that Tim was using the "bling on a roll" from Michael's, because I've had that for a couple of months!  I can't believe I actually beat Tim to an idea.... unheard of!  

I didn't have any mini clips, so I just used a bulldog clip instead and hung the "Believe" tag from it.

This shows a little better the snowflake pattern in the facet.  Mine didn't turn out quite as perfectly clear as Tim's, but I love the technique!

Hope you're all having fun playing along with the 12 Tags this year.  It's becoming a tradition for sure, and I'm hoping to catch by the end - will be spending a LOT of time in the studio this weekend! 

See you soon with more tags!


~ ellen.

December 6, 2010

Tim Holtz 12 Tags - Finally!


I've finally caught up enough with being home from England and settling back into normal life that I've finally done my first tag from Tim Holtz' 12 Tags of Christmas! Stop the madness!!

Had a fabulous skype session with Hels earlier this evening and she made me *promise* I would do atleast one tag tonight.... so.... here it is!  I decided to start with a simple one - gotta start somewhere!  So here's my attempt at Tag #2 - I didn't have the "Happy Holidays" stamp - but I think Merry Christmas works just fine, too.

Also didn't have the official "Tim" baubles, but I found these at Michael's - again - I think they work just fine....

Not too bad for a first attempt - I will get caught up with them eventually, but I'm SIX days behind!  I think next weekend will be my time to catch up.

Hope you're all doing well and having fun playing along with the 12 Tags this year!  I'll be back with more soon!  'Til then!


~ ellen.

December 4, 2010

And in the end..... Dec 3

Oh, sadness.... my time in England is coming to an end!

Woke up at 5:00 am (ouch!) with only 4 hours sleep.... chugged down some coffee, got dressed, finished packing my cases, and then had to take our final pix in THE Room of Stash....

Happy for the time we had together....

.... and incredibly sad that our time was coming to an end..... (how pathetic is this???)

And.... a picture of me and my new *hero* Grim.... I was having trouble with the power converters I brought along, and Grim came to the rescue and saved the day!  I have sleep apnea so the prospect of being without my CPAP was really stressing me out.  He also brought me presents during my stay (he just *knew* how much I love chocolate....)

me looking slightly bleary-eyed... 4 hours of sleep is NOT enough....
Grim did not have to work on Friday, so he was able to help Hels get me back to Heathrow, which made our journey a lot easier.  The three of us had an hour train ride from Wellingborough (*prounounced Well-ing-bruh*) to St. Pancras, and then another hour on the *tube* to Heathrow.  Had some train delays due to the weather, but I made it in plenty of time for my flight, and some duty-free shopping.

Said our final goodbyes before I headed into security.... very sad indeed to be leaving my new friends.  Some of us managed to get through the goodbyes without getting all teary, but some of us did not... but I'm not naming names...... (really.... it was Grim.... haha just kidding!)

Flight was delayed by an hour leaving Heathrow, but I made it back to DC pretty much on time.  Was an incredible adventure - my first European adventure - the first stamp in my Passport - but it most certainly will NOT be my last adventure.  We're already making plans for the next trip.  It's just a question of whether I'll go back to England or Hels will come to the US first.  Time will tell, but I will miss her terribly until that day comes. 

Thanks to everyone who made my trip so special.... first and foremost Hels and Grim.... followed by Lin Brown, Linda Elbourne, Jennie, Minxy, the lovely ladies in Linda E's class, and the wonderful people of England. 

As the saying goes.... it was great to go, and great to get home too.  But I will definitely go back!!

And in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make.... Love that song, and I know it's one of Hels' favorites.  And a perfect fit.... just like me & Hels. 


~ ellen.  (aka *Els*)  haha...

Final Play Day - Dec 2


On Thursday, Hels and I had one last day at *home* - dedicated to playing in the Room of Stash!  We both worked on our tags for the Wendy Vecchi tag swap - here are my tags:

The front is the pointsettia and the back is left mostly plain so it can be used as a gift tag, with room for writing the "To" and "From". 

Here's what Hels came up with (hers are so layered and detailed - gorgeous - she's SO flippin' talented!) 

Then Hels gave me a personal class in Ten Seconds Studio metal!  I spent the rest of the day playing with sheets of metal, and moulds, and paper stumps and refining tools, and "scoochy wheels" and generally having a ball!  I fear there may be a new crafting addiction coming on.... The two pieces I made are in progress, and will be part of a larger finished product - will blog when it's finished!

Spent the evening watching "I'm A Celebrity..." and having "English-Chinese" for dinner - as opposed to "American Chinese" - get it?  English chinese food is pretty much the same as American, but slightly different - and oh so yummy... :)  There were different menu choices - the ones I tried and liked were the chicken curry, the duck with plum sauce, and the beef with pineapple! 

Then it was time to start packing my bags to come home.... SOB!!!  Much as I really missed Jack, I was not ready for my time in England to come to an end.... reality stinks....

More to come from the last day....

~ ellen.

Tea with 'Liz' - Dec 1


(I got a little behind in my posting - ran out of time in England - so I'm posting the daily events now that I'm home.  I'll do each day, but they'll all post today til I get caught up.  Just so you don't think I'm nuts...)

I was gently informed on the last post that *cheerio* actually  means goodbye, not hello.... oops!  So I hope I got it right today..... :)  If's Hels' fault.... LOL!!!!

Anywho.... on Wednesday Hels and I trekked our way into London where it was ***chuffin'-Norah-freezing***!!!  We took the train to St. Pancras station and then caught the tube to Green Park (Liz's front garden) and then walked in the freezing cold and wind to meet the Queen for tea - she *needed* to see me you know.... Hels arranged it ahead.... such a good host... haha....  as luck would have it, there was a foreign diplomat arriving when we got there so we got to see the open air horse drawn carriages (they - the diplomats - must have been FREEZING!) - the cold stream guards were out - all the pomp and circumstance - very very cool.  Thought my fingers would fall off from the cold, but it was SO worth it!

Here's a (blurry) shot of the carriage, and then a quick video of the cold stream Blues & Royals guards - (with a few cold stream guards in the back row - I was corrected by an Anonymous commenter - if I make a mistake, just tell me.... no need to be Anonymous... it's just learning something new, in a new culture.... that's what traveling is all about).... no offense taken...

I never tried uploading a video before - hope it works....

Then we met Jennie at Covent Garden for lunch at Maxwell's - had great burgers, and did a little bit of shopping.

RED ALERT - THIS IS *THE* PICTURE OF ME and HELS - BLOGGABLE PROOF WE WERE TOGETHER - just in case you thought I had fabricated the whole visit... haha...

We got the tube back to St. Pancras, and found an enormous queue (line) for our train home, which had already been delayed once, and was quickly delayed again.  So, by the time our train arrived, there were three train loads of people to fit into one train.  We were very lucky to get on board, but we had to stand for much of the trip home.  Needless to say we were *knackered* (tired) by the time we got home.  We had just enough energy to order Domino's Pizza, watch "I'm A Celebrity" and promptly PASS OUT into bed.

A long day... a cold day... but another very very good day.  Tune in tomorrow!


~ ellen.  xx