March 27, 2011

Life Happens When....


Here's the latest tag from my recent "spree"... Tim Holtz style...

I was so excited when I got the Stuff to Say set and I've set a personal goal to use EVERY flippin' new stamp that I bought this time around.  So often we see stamps that we just HAVE to have... and then they get woefully neglected... not a good trend.  This hobby of ours is not a cheap one, and I really want to USE all the stuff I buy!  So... I'm mixing a bit of new with a bit of old.....

One thing I'm really trying to work on is building layers of interest in my art.... you'll have to look closely to see, but there are SIX layers on this background... Here's the breakdown:

1.  started by layering scraps of booktext all over the tag
2.  did a white wash over the text
3.  stamped script in coffee archival over the white wash
4.  applied butterscotch paint with my finger tip horizontally and vertically in random spots
5.  white drippage
6.  concentric circles stamp in black archival ink

Technically I then added black soot distress ink to the edges - so maybe that could be considered layer #7... but only on the edges....

This grungeboard flourish is dabbed with Ferro (iron oxide), heat dried, and then gently used my fingers to swipe some Inka Gold over the textured surface.  Love that Ferro - fab stuff!

Totally love this new sentiment, and love that it fits perfectly in the shield/coat of arms diecut.  I cut the sheild out of patterned ledger paper, inked with antique linen DI with walnut stain and black on the edges, and stamped the sentiment in black archival.

Added the beads from a jump ring attached to the ribbon (May Arts) at the top.  Got these beads from Michael's - Love them!  They're like Tim's baubles, but in BLACK - sweet!  And some of them have a rough texture... let me see if I have a better pic....mmmmm nope... sorry...but you get the idea...

Hope you're all having a great weekend... I better get busy getting organized for stamp camp.... the amount of *stash* that goes to camp is.... well.... seemingly ridiculous... I have an SUV and I NEED all that space when I go to camp... I'm just sayin' .... Jack teases me that it would be easier to fit my entire studio with a hitch so i could just tow the whole thing... how cool would that be???  HAHA!!

Thanks for stopping by...

~ ellen.

March 26, 2011

This IS Art!


I'm back again... with another tag to share.  As you've probably surmised by now... I'm addicted to Studio 490 Art Parts!  Can't stop playing with them.  So this time I wanted to use the dress form part.  I had tried using the distress stains on them - gorgeous, and stamping over them with the matching stamps for some of them from Studio 490 - genius - so this time I thought I'd try using them with Claudine's Sticky Back Canvas.  I've seen old dressforms that are covered in canvas so I thought this would be a good fit.  Worked like a charm!

The background of the tag is one of Tim's new stamps from the Papillon set.  Stamped that with distress embossing ink and them sprinkled clear embossing powder over and heat-set.  Then used chipped sapphire and forest moss distress ink over the embossed area.  I like using darker inks over embossed areas because it gives such nice contrast.  

Then I tore two pieces of corrugated cardboard on an angle and painted with black paint dabber.  Then added Inka Gold in gold, copper and green to highlight, and then white-washed the whole thing to age/distress.  Attached those two pieces on opposite ends of the tag.

I painted the base and tip of the dressform with brown paint dabber, and then put Inka Gold (gold) around the edges for accent.  Traced the dressform onto the canvas, cut out, and then peeled the backing to attach to the art part.  Then stamped a Studio 490 background over the canvas- sort of looks like a measuring tape!  Added some vintage photo distress ink to soften the look. Added some pom pom trim and a mini safety pin.

The sentiment is also by Studio 490. It's awesome... I can't tell you how many people (non-artsy people) have asked me... so what do you DO with all that STUFF you make?  I just want to say... ummm... why does it matter?  I made that STUFF.... and had so much fun!   I digress...

I'm really liking the look of cutting sentiments up into their individual words - gives much more flexibility in placing them on whatever you're making.  Glued each piece down individually and then inked with antique linen distress ink.

The ginormous brad at the top is by 7 Gypsies - how cool are they?  Then attached a small hitch fastener to the brad so the tag can be hung up. 


One more project to share tomorrow!  I'll be busy next week planning and packing to go away to *STAMP CAMP*. Twice a year I get together with a group of crafty friends for a long weekend filled with nothing but art, laughter and good fun.  Can't wait to get there! 

Hope you're having a great weekend!

~ ellen.

March 25, 2011

An Art Adventure

Hello again!

I made this canvas a few nights ago and I'm so excited to share it with you! 

As I was saying on yesterday's post, I sometimes struggle with finding my *own* creative voice.  When I set out to make this project, my goal was to combine my favorite techniques with some of my favorite products - taking inspiration from lots of different places all in the same piece.  I may not be quite to my OWN voice, but I'm making progress....

I started with a blank 6x6 canvas and chose 3 color wash sprays by Ranger.  I chose red pepper, butterscotch and meadow.  Sprayed randomly over the whole canvas and used the heat tool to dry. 

Then came the fun part..... I broke out the titanium white airbrush paint by Golden, and dripped the paint directly from the bottle, from the top of the canvas, letting it drip wherever it wanted.  Then lightly spritzed with water. OMG... the blending and bleeding... as Donna Downey would say... HAPPY PLACE!!!  Seriously, I think I squealed!  I grabbed my heat gun as fast as I could to dry it before it changed!

When the white paint hit the color wash, it bled and blended, so the *white* isn't super white - which I LOVE - it just gave such texture and depth - will definitely be doing that again!  

It's a little hard to tell in these pix, but then I used Wendy's new wavy grid stamp and the circle background stamp, with white paint, to stamp over the background.  Again, the white paint bled with the color washes so it has the effect of a watermark.... here's a close up - hopefully you can see it a little better...

I already knew I wanted to use the "art market" art parts truck and the "art journey" sentiment, both by Wendy Vecchi, but I wanted to spread out the sentiment so I cut it up into pieces.  Also, I wanted to highlight the word ART so I substituted another bigger Studio 490 ART stamp and popped it up with Liquid Scrap Dots

Then I thought it would be fun to play with the adventure concept so attached some link chain like a winding road across the canvas.  The "wander" philosophy tag was a natural choice. 

Added the pen nibs just because I like them.... and they play nicely to the art adventure...

Thanks for popping in... I'll be back tomorrow with another project...

~ ellen.

March 24, 2011

The World of Imagination


I'm back!  I've been busy again, playing with new stamps and inks and stains and paints and stash... I was asked to make some samples for my LSS The Queen's Ink (by "Queen" Patti herself!) which was extremely flattering, so I've been busy busy busy... I'll be sharing some of the things I made over the next few days.

This first project is a tag using some of Tim's new stamps...I love the background - an awesome map - and I have to confess - I LOVE MAPS!  All kinds of maps - new maps, old maps, big maps, small maps - love em all.  

And as soon as I saw that compass stamp I knew I had to find a way to put it under glass, and the 7 Gypsies optical lens was a perfect fit!

The sentiment is so awesome - I'm really trying to embrace it's meaning - boundless imagination - it's a big concept actually.... for me it's all about letting go and just creating whatever I'm inspired to make - no rules - no preconceived notions... which is difficult for me.  As many of you may understand - I spend a lot of time on line, reading other art blogs, trying to learn from artists I admire, and always exploring new techniques and products.  All that influence has a tendency to creep into whatever I create, so sometimes I struggle with finding my OWN creative voice... working on that...

As my friend Hels would say.... I've been waffling on alarmingly.... but that's where I am at the moment...

Back to the tag...

All the stamps and embellishments are by Tim Holtz, with the exception of the 7 Gypsies optical lens and the star trinket pins by Maya Road.  I had a hard time trying to figure out how to attach the game spinner to the *glass* lens... tried multi medium... nope... tried glossy accents... nope... turns out what worked the best was a good ole' "pop dot"...

I'm excited and nervous... I'm co-teaching my first class tomorrow night at the Queen's Ink.  We'll be making this tag that I shared a little while back.... with the metal flower... thanks again to Lin Brown for the awesome technique.... it landed me a teaching gig!  :D

Hope you liked this tag - I'll be back with more over the next few days.  Thanks for stopping by!

~ ellen.

March 16, 2011

It Takes A Village... To Make Art (Parts!)

Hello everyone!

I wanted to share this new piece I made last weekend, which was featured on THE Wendy Vecchi's blog today.  That in itself has sent me into the *stratosphere* with excitement and appreciation of Wendy's generosity, support and encouragement!  Not only is she an UBER-talented artist, but a really nice person, too. 

That said... I have had this village project in my head for months... ever since the previews for new products coming out for January's CHA.  Once I saw the Residences Art Parts kit, there was an instant vision of this village.  So, once the new Art Parts arrived at The Queen's Ink, my local store, I was all over it!  It all started with the cool square yard-stick that I found at an antiques mart in Havre de Grace, MD close to where I live.  Nowadays, yard sticks are flat (and boring), but this one was square, so it provided a solid base for the project.  There's a pic of it from the side below.

Here's the finished piece.... better grab a cuppa coffee for this one - it's a monster post! 

We'll start with the Houses:  these were born from the "Residences" kit from Wendy's Art Parts line.  I primed each base piece with snow-cap pigment ink, and then used distress inks over the snow-cap, which gives you a pastel effect to the distress color palette - how cool is that!?  Then I added some of Wendy's background stamps over that - in the hopes it would look like wallpaper when you're looking through the windows into the house.  Also added some crochet trim (Melissa Frances) to the windows to look like curtains.

On the large house, I also primed the top piece with snow cap pigment ink, over-inked with weathered wood distress stain, and then painted a white wash vertically to give the effect of bleached wood. 

On the small and medium houses, I used Wendy's dashed-stripes background stamp (Let Your Heart Have Wings stamp set) to give the effect of wood siding.  The doors were inked with distress ink, and then stamped with coffee archival ink with Wendy's torn paper label stamp to give a wood grain effect.  The roofs were done with grunge paper and Tim Holtz' texture fades and then inked with distress inks.  The roof peaks were painted with a watered down Gold Iron Ferro (by Viva) and then white-washed.

The flower on the left is from the "Flowers" art parts kit.  I inked the stem and the base with crushed olive distress ink, and then stamped just the base with one of Wendy's backgrounds in olive archival ink.  Then I inked the flower with wild honey distress stains, and fired brick distress ink on the edges, and stamped a Studio 490 background over the flower with coffee archival ink.  I added some of Tim Holtz' ball chain to the stem with Claudine Hellmuth's multi medium.  The center of the flower is a sprocket/gear from 7 Gypsies, and a Tim Holtz button over that.  Again, attached these pieces with multi medium - it is a FABulous adhesive and doesn't take too long to set up.  The metal piece under the flower is something I got at Lin Brown's shop (LB Crafts) when I visited Hels in England last month.  Sorry I don't know the brand name, but if you're in the UK - Lin has them!

The "tree" is from the "Leaves" art parts kit. I inked this piece with peeled paint distress stains (it looks darker than normal, because the art parts are not white), and then stamped with Wendy's script background in coffee archival ink.

The car is from Wendy's "For the Guys" art parts kit, and the matching stamp is from the Destination Art stamp set.  This one was very straightforward.... inked the car stamp with jet black archival ink and then pressed the art part down onto the stamp (much easier to line it up right this way).  And then added some Tim Holtz snaps to the wheels - simple!

The stars on the rooftops of 2 houses are from the "Bottles and Borders" art parts kit.  I cut two stars off of the star border.  Had to be careful doing this - I used a craft knife and worked very slowly.  I still had to even things up after cutting.... didn't come out straight the first time.... inked them with wild honey distress stain, and then added rock candy distress stickles.

And, finally, the "handmade" hand.... this is from the "Dress Forms and More" art parts kit.  Applied fired brick distress stain to the hand, and then used just the word "handmade" from Wendy's handmade art stamp, from the Artfully Noted stamp set.  Added a jump ring to look like an actual ring on the hand.

The house numbers are a combination of Making Memories metal number charms and metal rings from Susan Lenart Kazmer's Industrial Chic line, which is available at Michael's.  LOVE this stuff!  The winged heart on the rooftop of the large house is from 7 Gypsies, with a Tim Holtz fleur-de-lis charm hanging from it.

The arrow and the aRt letters are grunge board, and were painted with black paint dabber, and then lightly swiped with Inka Gold.

Other embellishments used were:  hitch fastener (Tim Holtz) used as doorknob on large house, Maya Road chipboard heart, with Tim Holtz crown charm, red seed bead for doorknob on small house, lock on med. house and key on small house are also available from LB Crafts (UK).

Here's a few shots from the side to show the dimension a little better.

Phew!  I think I covered it all... if you have any questions please feel free to ask.... I had an absolute blast making this project - and I'm so grateful to Wendy for sharing it on her blog.  Thanks to everyone who left comments on Wendy's blog and also on my blog.  Hope you enjoyed the detailed description. 

Have a great week, and definitely find time to play with Art Parts!  The possibilities are endless!  One thing that really helped me was to take all the art parts out of their packaging and put them all together in one container - it helped me see to see different ways to use and combine them.  Have fun!

Big Appreciative Hugs....

~ ellen. xxx

PS - all the Studio 490 Art Parts, Studio 490 stamps, and Tim Holtz products (inks, stains, paint dabbers, idea-ology) are available on-line from eclectic Paperie / Simon Says Stamp in the US, or LB Crafts / The Artistic Stamper / The Stamp Attic in the UK.  If you are local to the Baltimore/Washington area, they are available at The Queen's Ink in Savage, MD.

March 10, 2011

Studio 490 - Meant To Be


This is the final project from my recent "spree" of creativity!  Here's another Studio 490 / Art Parts piece.  I started with the large square frame and covered the base and the frame in coordinating paper (by Queen Bee).  Sanded and inked the edges.  I knew that I wanted to use the new "Become who you were meant to be" stamp so stamped that in black archival ink.... however.... should have waited until I did the background.... had to improvise.  So I stamped the sentiment on a scrap and created a mask.

Then used Wendy's "perfect stamping" technique on the wheat/grass background stamp (Hero Arts) - basically, I inked the stamp with several colors of distress ink and then spritzed it with perfect pearl mist (heirloom gold), and then stamped onto the base of the project (over the mask of the sentiment).

Added a grungepaper butterfly, inked with bundled sage DI with a coat of rock candy distress stickles, and a tiny lock brad.  Added some black hemp for the antennae.

I wanted the piece to have some dimension, so I "stole" some dried grasses/wheat from a dry arrangement in my studio - decor becomes art!  Added the grasses to the base of the piece, and the stalk (?) of wheat to the frame.  Used Art Glitter Glue - worked great.

Adhered the frame to the base using multi medium matte. And, finally, added the STARS art parts piece, covered with paper from the same stack by Queen Bee, to the edge of the bottom of the frame - I also used multi medium for this. 

Hope you've enjoyed following along on my little surge of creative energy.  Life is taking over for the next few days so nothing new to share for a little while.  Hope everyone is having a great week - see you soon.

~ ellen.

March 9, 2011

Journey in an Old Jalopy

Hello again!

As you can tell - I've been have *tons* of fun playing and making cool stuff this week.  My latest project uses some of the new Tim Holtz products!  I was lucky to get ahold of the new sizzix die with the antique car (aka the 'old jalopy'), as well as some of the new stamps.  Here we go!

I started by gluing some map paper over the entire tag, using a glue stick.  I must tell you, I have re-discovered the glue stick.... I had thought for years that it was the *worst* option for adhering things, but have recently found out that it's actually quite a good adhesive for paper!  Who knew?  Anyway... I digress....

Then I cut the old jalopy out of grungeboard.  I inked the car, and all the wheels in black soot distress ink, and the running boards and license plate in frayed burlap.  Then I sanded all the edges of the black pieces with the sanding grip and re-inked the edges in frayed burlap, and added a tiny bit of Inka Gold over that for some shiny highlights.  Then the pieces were all assembled.  I thought it would be cool to have some windows in the car, which came in the form of mica pieces.  Notice that the driver's window is actually half way down.... just a small detail... but every little bit helps....

The base of the sentiment is actually cut from the ornate frame die cut.  I just snipped off all the curvy edges and was left with... basically... a really big ticket.   Inked that with old paper distress ink, and then stamped the new map stamp in coffee archival ink over that, and then stamped an oldie but a goodie "the journey..." in jet black archival.  I "popped" the "R" and the arrow with foam tape and attached to the tag with a mini clip.

I discovered that the number on the adage tickets would make a perfect license plate!  A perfect fit. Knowing Tim it was all part of the master plan.... who knows.... it works for me.

And the other part of the adage ticket became a "sign" for the car.  Needed to fill in some extra space so added a red heart coated with rock candy crackle paint.  Now... confession time.... I had not planned to add the game spinner to the heart, but as I was heat drying the crackle paint (because I'm not patient enough to wait).... I got a BIG BUBBLE... OOPS.... time to cover it up!  So.... add a game spinner - all fixed.... :D

Added a vintage key (I think from 7 Gypsies) and some ribbon trim, which I altered with the vintage photo distress stain - LOVE!

Et voila!  Finished tag!  Hope you enjoyed following along..... I have one more project to share tomorrow.... stay tuned!

Going out tonight to see the Celtic Woman show at an awesome theatre in Baltimore - will be a great show - we went last year, too and loved it.  Hope you have a great evening.

~ ellen.

March 8, 2011

Clearly for Art - Bright & Bold

Hello again!

I'm on a roll, and loving this burst of creative energy!  Here's another tag I made over the weekend, using distress stains,  alcohol inks, Wendy Vecchi's Studio 490 stamps, Clearly For Art (whiteout) and Art Parts. 

I started by using Ranger's new distress stains to create a blended background, going over the stains with distress inks to intensify the color. 

Then I used Studio 490 script stamp in coffee archival and the circles background in jet black archival to give some additional interest to the background. 

I was lucky to get my hands on some of the new Clearly for Art - Whiteout over the weekend, and wanted to play with it.  So I used Tim's tattered floral die to cut out the flowers, and then added color to them using alcohol inks.  I wanted the colors to be bright & bold (not my usual style, but liking it!).  Rather than blending multiple colors together, I went for a solid color on each layer of the flower.  I used red pepper, butterscotch, and meadow.  I stamped each layer with a different background stamp (front and back).

Now comes the fun part.... when you heat clearly for art, it becomes soft so you can mold it into whatever shape you want.  If you don't like how it turns out.... just re-heat and it will go completely flat again - you get as many tries as you want!  My preferred technique for flowers is to place the flower on top of the handle of a blending tool and then apply heat, so the flower petals sort of "melt" creating instant dimension - then I can refine the shape from there.  Seems to work well.

Added a vintage button to the center - threaded with some black hemp - it's a crime to use naked (un-threaded) buttons, right?   And added a Maya Road star trinket pin, colored with butterscotch alcohol ink.

Added some of Tim's measuring tape to the top of the piece, and the art parts scalloped border (painted with black paint dabber) to the bottom, and finally, added some typewritten words to random places.

I'm having an absolute ball making art this week - I hope this burst lasts!!! 

I'll be back with more soon - yes, there's still more to come! 

Have a great day,

~ ellen.

March 7, 2011

Evidence of Art (Parts!)

Hi everyone,

I had the BEST weekend... it started out with a major shopping spree at The Queen's Ink, and continued with lots of playing in the studio.  One of my most exciting purchases was lots of new Studio 490 stamps and Art Parts by Wendy Vecchi... so I had a play with them on Saturday afternoon. 

I started with the small square art parts frame and covered the base with some script paper (which, appropriately enough, was part of the huge lot of *stash* I was lucky enough to buy from Wendy Vecchi herself!).  Then I used the new distress stain (fired brick) to color the frame.  It was SO quick and easy - we need to start an email campaign to Ranger to make sure they get the rest of the distress colors as soon as possible- we need them! 

Stamped "Evidence of Art" on grungeboard and colored with wild honey distress stain.   Used Wendy's screen background in coffee archival ink on the frame, and then got busy with NEW stamps and art parts!

Ever since Wendy did her sneak peak of the ink bottle art part *with matching stamp!!!* I've been dying to use them - well here it is!! It was so easy to line up the stamp to the art part to get this awesome result.  Then I added the star (totally got this idea from Wendy) - the circle is from the center of the art parts spool base, and the star stamp is from Tim's Bitty Grunge set.

The art parts flower was stained with Wild Honey distress stain, and stamped with another background from Wendy, again in coffee archival ink.  Added an idea-ology metal flower on top for some interest. 

And added a pen nib (not the new idea-ology ones, don't have them yet).  I discovered that the best way to add the pen nib is Liquid Scrap Dots - check them out HERE if you haven't used them - they're like liquid/gel pop dots!  They take a few hours to dry, but they're awesome!

Hope your week is off to a good start - and you have lots of time for creative play.  I'll be back soon with more to share.  I'm telling you... I was BUSY this weekend!  Yay!

~ ellen.

March 6, 2011



Yesterday I was SOOO excited to go to my LSS The Queen's Ink because all the new stamps and stash from Stampers Anonymous have arrived!  I've been waiting ever-so-patiently for them to come in, and now that they're here... I went a little.... NUTS!  I've been up to my elbows in ink ever since... here's the first of several creations coming over the next few days.... just had to break in these new stamps from Tim....

This is from the new Papillon set - love it!  I used the new distress stains for the background, putting the stains directly to the tag background and the spritzing heavily with water to let them bleed and blend together.  I went over the stains with distress inks afterwards to intensify the colors.

Stamped the french background and the numbers (from the Stuff To Say set) in walnut stain distress ink, and then brushed some rock candy crackle paint just over the word Paris.

The ornate frame and keyhole were distressed using black, juniper and blue cloud paint dabbers.

I've had this little eiffel tower charm forever, and this was the perfect use for it....

Hope you like it - I'll be sharing a few more projects over the next few days - new Wendy Vecchi stamps and Art Parts - LOVE!

Have a great week!

~ ellen.

March 2, 2011

Altered Antique Book

Hello again!

Hope you're all having a good week - I've been crazy busy at work since returning from England, so I haven't had a lot of time (or energy) for creating, but I wanted to share this mini-book that I worked on while in England in Hels' ROOM OF STASH....

I bought some antique books a few months ago, and brought several of the covers with me so Hels and I could play with them.  If you want to check out her book - click HERE to whizz over to her blog - it's fabulous!

I started with really really old leather covers, like *falling apart* old - very cool.  Hels went to exhaustive lengths to have some of Wendy Vecchi's fabulous new ART PARTS available for us to play with as well, so I used the new pocket watch and small flower parts on the cover.

They are SO cool - you MUST get them.  I inked the inside of the pocket watch with antique linen, stamped Wendy's polka dot background in coffee archival ink, and then gave it a coat of rock candy crackle paint.  The flower was inked with peeled paint, stamped with Wendy's alphabet background, and also got a coat of clear crackle.  The outside frame of the pocket watch was done with the gold paint dabber, with a dabbing motion to give some texture, and then dabbed some coffee archival ink with my finger, over the gold paint to tone it down and age it a bit.  This picture shows the detail a little better.

Each of the inside pages was created by gluing two pieces of cardstock together.  Then I ran each page through the c'bug with different "on the edge" dies.  Each page gets progressively wider so when you open the book you can see the edges of all the pages.  The inside edge of each page was covered with tissue tape as well. 

I covered the inside covers with Tim's paper stash, map paper.  Here are some close up of several pages.  I still have a few more pages to finish, but this will give you the idea of the book.  I'm really pleased with how they turned out.

Paper Artsy script background, Tim Holtz sentiments (from new release!), Maya road gingham flowers, and jute stems)
Tim Holtz butterfly and sentiment, TH snaps, and a canvas tab stapled to the sentiment
Studio 490 flower vine, prima flowers, Studio 490 "make art" stamp, and TH ornate frame. Coated "make art" with glossy accents.
Ruler paper adhered to grungeboard and sanded/inked to distress.  TH sentiment over corrugated cardboard strip, painted with black paint dabber and accented with Inka Gold, dried flower/wheat accent.
TH birdcage hot-glued while "squished" in a little to give dimension. Flower stems are from the TH flourish die, cut into pieces. Prima flowers, maya road trinket leaf pins, Maya road chipboard letters "bloom" - black paint dabber and Inka Gold accents.

Hope you enjoyed the pages - I'm really loving the "mini-book" thing lately.... There are so many possibilities, and I'm dying to try out all the new products from the latest CHA.... still waiting for most of them to arrive at my LSS, but simply could NOT wait for the distress stains, so I broke down and ordered them on-line.... hoping the new stuff will be available locally SOON!!  

Have a great day - see you soon!

~ ellen