June 30, 2011

Simon Says Stamp and Show... Words!

Hi-ho bloggers...

Wanted to share this tag I made a few months ago and simply forgot to blog it!   This week's theme over on the Simon Says Stamp and Show blog is to do a project featuring a word or words... this certainly fits the bill....  click HERE to check out the awesome projects and join in the fun.

Started by spraying the tag with lots of water and then, before drying, sprayed with Ranger's color wash sprays in stream, butterscotch and meadow.  When the tag is wet first, the color wash sprays immediately spread and bleed together for an awesome effect.

Then used Golden's titanium white airbrush paint to do "drippage" down the length of the tag, spritzing with water for bleeding effect.  I love that the color wash sprays bleed with the white paint... so the white isn't *super white* but takes on the hue of the color wash.

Then punched out the long leafy fine (Martha Stewart punch) from textured cardstock, and added Xmas Red stickles for little berries.  The sentiment is from none other than Tim Holtz.  Stamped that down the right hand side and then stamped it again on white cardstock and cut out specific words.  Glued the accent words over the stamped image on the tag for emphasis.

Used Tim's heart die to cut the heart out of canvas, colored with barn door distress stains, and added gold stickles around the edges.  Added the pen nib with a mini safety pin, both by Tim Holtz.  

Hope you liked this tag, sorry it took me so long to remember to share it!  I think I made it when Hels was here!  Eeek! 

June 28, 2011

Homemade Blending Tools

Hey everyone,

I saw a video on you tube of someone making custom blending tools (sorry I can't remember who it was or I would give credit for the idea).  So when I went to the antique store I found a set of 8 antique brass drawer knobs and thought they would be perfect...

Found a long strip of maple trim at Home Depot and Jack cut it down to blending foam size for me... since he has the perfect power tools for this at work... drilled a hole in the center and attached the brass knobs to each block with a screw and.... voila!.... instant custom ink blending tools! 

But I wanted to be able to identify each block by color family... so... I used a combination of either distress stain or distress ink to color the wood blocks.  (Now... the ongoing debate among inky crafters... do you have a blending tool for *every* distress color?  Or do you have one for each color family?  I'm in the color family category myself... I know some of you will be *distressed* by this (haaaaaaa... bad pun... LOL!), but it doesn't bother me... I'm sure some of you will notice that pink and purple are not represented in the pic below... I use them so infrequently that I never bothered with dedicated blending tools for them... on the rare occasion I need them I just swap them out quickly with another blending foam and then quickly switch it back...)

Bought some industrial strength velcro, attached to the base, and then the blending foam pops right on just like the ones from Ranger.  Love it! 

I've been wanting to find a way to have an extra set of blending tools for traveling (to classes, arty retreats, vacations, etc....) and these are just perfect!  Granted, they are a bit heavy, but their coolness more than makes up for it! 

Hope you're having a good week so far... it's insanely hot & humid here on the east coast... definitely INDOORS with A/C for me.  Sounds like a good excuse to go play in my studio! 

See you soon!

~ ellen.

June 25, 2011

ATCs with Donna Downey

Hi everyone,

As I've shared before, I've been following along each month with Donna Downey's ATC Kits.  These kits are great because they are affordable, they come with downloadable instructions, and they always contain an idea or a theme which is inspiring to me.  If you're interested in joining in the fun, click HERE to head over to Donna's store - you can get the kit for $10 or just the downloadable instructions for $2.  I mean really... how cool is that?  I've done each month up through June, but only blogged 2 months... so I'll be catching up periodically... here are the ATC's from February....

I won't go into details about how to make these because it wouldn't be fair to Donna, but I love the gate theme on this month's set, and how each gate has a hidden message. Here are some close ups of each ATC.
This particular gate reminded me of the gates at Buckingham Palace, and I just happened to have a picture of *me* in front of those gates, so I cut myself out of that picture and place it into this project - perfect match, right?  

These gates also just felt like London to me, so I cut out the picture of the big statue in front of Buckingham Palace and placed it inside the gate.

Love this Secret Garden stamp... so added Maya Road flowers to the ornate plate to go with the garden theme.

This one was a little tricky to photograph since the gates are tied closed so here's another shot with a peak inside, pardon my pudgy fingers...

Hope you enjoyed these.  Like I said, there is always something in each month's kit that either inspires me to try something new, or remember a product I haven't used in a while, and I'm building quite a collection... 4 ATC's a month x 6 months.... yes... that means I've got 24 of these hanging from my ATC spinner... I love collections....  :)

Hope you have a great weekend!  The sun in shining in Baltimore and it's still cool enough outside to have the doors & windows open... of course it's only 7:30 am... the heat will come soon enough.  I may have to pay a visit to "the Queen".... at Queen's Ink that is.... today... can't seem to stay away from that place!  Enjoy your weekend, I'll be back soon with more to share.

~ ellen.

June 22, 2011

Simon Says... Show Some Metal

Hi everyone,

Sorry I've been AWOL for a couple weeks!  I seem to blog in spurts... must work on that.

This week's theme over on the Simon Says Stamp and Show Challenge is... metal.  I'm all about metal... can't think of the last thing I made that didn't have at least a small bit of metal in it, so this challenge is right up my alley.

Last time I went to see Hels, we paid a visit to LB Crafts and I got some nice additions to my artsy stash.  Some wooden pieces to alter, and some 6x6 paper pads that I hadn't seen over here in the states.  Decided it was time to do something with them so here we go:

I started by giving the wood a light sanding to smooth out the rough edges, then applied a coat of the fabulous new fresco finish paint (Paper Artsy).

Then I traced the shape of each side of the wooden piece onto my patterned paper and cut out each piece.  For the inside pieces, I just measured the length and width first, inserted the strip into each section, and then traced the shape needed for the height.

Adhered each piece of paper to the wood using multi medium.  For me it worked best to paint the multi medium onto the back of the paper and then place on the wood surface and burnish down with a bone folder.  Then sanded all the edges and inked with vintage photo distress ink to help blend the paper in with the wood and create a seamless look.

Added loads of idea-ology and other metal trinkets to the sides, and then.... and this is my favorite part... I used a Pearl Pen (copper) to create faux rivets all the way around each edge of the piece. I love the texture this creates and just can't resist the urge to run my finger over them.

Hope you enjoyed this piece.  Thanks for looking!

~ ellen.

June 8, 2011

Dylusions - Day 7 - Special Project

Hi All!

I have had so much fun sharing my Dylusions tags with you all this week!  I have been a long-time admirer of Dyan Reaveley, and was so excited when these stamps came out.  It has been a new adventure to play with them and discover different ways to use them.  I have a feeling this is not the last you will see of them - lots more stamps to explore!

Here's the special project I've been waiting to share.  It's a 5 x 5 canvas that combines Dylusions with  another of my current favorite techniques... made famous to me by THE Donna Downey...  drippage!

Now, I must say... the curvy wavy houses are definitely my favorite of Dyan's stamps, so I definitely wanted to use them on my project... but... I'm getting ahead of myself....

This project started by painting the canvas with a combination of Golden paints... green gold on the bottom and phthalo blue on the top.  Then added drips of golden's titanium white airbrush paint and sprayed with water to make the white drips run and spread, and then adding another layer of drippage with the phthalo blue paint.

Then I stamped each of the houses onto Claudine Hellmuth's sticky back canvas, cut the roofs off each house (that way you can mix & match the houses & roofs), and painted each section with watered down paint so the designs on the stamps would show through.  Edged the houses and roofs with white acrylic paint.

Stamped the checker-boarder onto sticky back canvas, cut it out, and adhered it to grungeboard.  I accented the checkerboard pattern with white paint and a black sharpie

Used Tim Holtz' typeset die to cut out the letters for the "Art gives you wings" message, adhered all the parts to the canvas, and then gave the letters a "marquee" look with a white pigment pen.

My favorite part of the canvas is the big ART house taking flight with its wings (Tim Holtz).  Because art truly does make me feel like I can fly (at least when everything is going well.... when the mojo disappears it can feel like a lead weight! LOL!) 

I hope you've enjoyed following along with my Dylusions experimentation.  I've had a blast, and can't wait to do some more playing with these awesome stamps!  Have a great day, and I'll see you soon with more art to share.  I'm working on an altered wood piece at the moment, but it still needs some finishing touches.... not sure how it will evolve... time will tell!

~ ellen.

June 7, 2011

Dylusions - Day 6


Ooops! Forgot to schedule today's post - sorry it's a little late... here we go with Day 6 of Dylusions!

Today's tag starts with a color wash background (big surprise) in butterscotch and red pepper.  I love the instant results of these color sprays and the blended, sometimes marbled/mottled look you can achieve with practically no effort.

Used the leafy vine and bits & bats Dylusions stamps, tracing around the leaves with white pigment pen to help the leaves stand out against the dark background.

Used another of my "new" sentiments from Tim Holtz - this is an oldie but a very goodie, and so true.  As in keeping with my style of late, I cut the words up individually and glued them down.  This lets me put almost any sentiment on a tag because the words don't have to fit in their original configuration. Added some antique linen distress ink to age the words a bit.

And, lastly, I used Tim's picket fence die to cut out the fence in grungeboard, painted with a white paint dabber and distressed the tips with my brown blending tool (whatever color was left on the foam). The blending tools hold so much ink that often times you don't need to add more ink to just distress the edges.  And the bird from the bits & bats set just looked perfect sitting on the fence, taking a break (as the sentiment suggested - he's a smart bird...)  haha.

Added the antique key and the other dangly embellishment from Susan Lenart Kazmer's "Industrial Chic" line - available at Michael's, and some rag ribbon at the top.

Just one more project to share tomorrow!  Hope you stop by to check it out.  See you then.  Have a great day!

~ ellen.

June 6, 2011

Dylusions - Day 5

Hey there!

I'm back from my spaaaaaaaahhhh weekend and I must say... it was absolutely wonderful... if you ever have the chance to get a hot stone massage... DO IT... of course the best part of the weekend was spending time with my dear best friend (since we were 9 years old) Karen.  Here's a fun shot of us from the early years... hee!

Well as promised, I still have a few more Dylusions projects to share... so here's our next tag....

As with several of the other tags I've shared, this one started with color wash sprays for the background (lettuce and butterscotch).  I started by spraying the whole tag with water, then spraying the color wash over the water so it immediately runs and blends.  Dried with a heat gun.

Then got busy stamping with the lovely Dylusions stamps.  Kept this tag pretty simple to let the gorgeous background shine.  Used the leafy vine - stamping it once in black archival ink on the background and then again on grungepaper.  Inked the grunge paper with crushed olive ink and then added rock candy distress stickles.  Cut out each leaf and glued it over the image on the tag for some dimension.

Added the flying flock of birds from the Bits & Bats set, and then worked on the sentiment.  Started by using Tim Holtz' new mini ornamental label die with white card stock.  Sprayed the same lettuce and butterscotch color wash sprays on the label, but this time blotted up the excess color with paper towels to give it a lighter tone than the background.  Then stamped the Studio 490 mesh background with shabby shutters distress ink, and a Tim Holtz sentiment stamp.  This is from an older release, but I just recently got it, so it's new to me. 

Added some trinket pins from Maya Road, some metal flowers from Tim Holtz, and a metal corner from 7 Gypsies, and some rag ribbon to the top.  Then ran a gold krylon pen around the edges of the tag and the mini label to give a nice crisp finish.

That's it for today, but I'll be back tomorrow with one more tag... and then a special project.  I'm having so much fun with these Dylusions - so excited!  And... I think it's OK to say now... and it will explain my sudden spree with Dylusions... THE Dyan Reaveley is going to be teaching a few classes at The Queens Ink in July!  My local store!  I never dreamed that would happen, and I feel SO lucky to have the opportunity to take some classes with her!  Especially here in the States... I simply can't wait!  Though I guess I'll have to... but not for long! 

See you tomorrow!

~ ellen.

June 5, 2011

Dylusions - Day 4


I'm back again to share another Dylusions tag...

This time, instead of using color wash sprays for the background, I did a paint resist.  Started with light brush strokes of white paint over the whole tag, being sure to leave plenty of un-painted surfaces.  Then I applied distress inks over the paint (crushed olive and broken china), and wiped over the tag with a baby wipe to lift the ink off the painted areas and reveal the white.  This is such a great technique, and super easy!

Then the stamping... started with the leafy vine from the Around the Edges set, lightly sketching around each leaf with a white pigment pen.  Then added the spider and the birds from the Bits & Bats set.

The mini bird and cage are from Tim Holtz' new Alterations release.  Painted the bird cage with black paint dabber and then used some Inka Gold (old silver) to swipe lightly over the black paint for highlights.  The bird is just painted with white paint dabber, to stand out against the black.

Across the bottom of the tag I added a scalloped border from Wendy Vecchi's Art Parts.  I painted the border with stream and lettuce paint dabbers, blending the two colors together, and then lightly swiped over that with a white paint dabber to tie in the white streaks with the tag background.

Once again, I couldn't find the exact right sentiment from my existing stamp stash, so I typed a simple message on the computer and printed it out, cut down the words, and inked with antique linen distress ink.

I scheduled this to post before I left for my spa day, so I don't have anything to share on that experience, yet.... of course in my hot-stone-massage-induced state of total relaxation, followed by some time in the hot tub... and then a pedicure... I'm not sure pictures will be possible, but I'll tell you all about it once I get home.... this is where I'll be...

Hope you are all having a great weekend.  The extreme heat wave finally broke, and it is delightful here on the east coast!  See you tomorrow with another Dylusions tag!

~ ellen.

June 4, 2011

Dylusions - Day 3

Hello again!

By the time you're reading this... I will be on my way to the Hotel Hershey (yes, the chocolate!) Resort and Spa for the day... my annual trip with my BFF.  A couple years ago we decided to do away with birthday and Christmas presents, and just go to the spa once a year together instead!  Time together is always better anyway... and time together at a SPA is the BEST!  This year I'm trying the hot stone massage and a pedicure!  Can't wait!

Here's the next tag from my dabblings with Dylusions...

As with the other Dylusions tags so far, I started with color wash sprays for the background - this time using purple and denim.  Very different color palette for me... hmmmm...  such a dark background - had to use white paint for stamping so it would show up!  Speaking of which... used Wendy Vecchi's script background with white paint dabber for the main background.  I love how the paint really stands out against that vibrant purple/blue background - looks like nighttime to me.

For the wavy house , I started with another manilla tag, sprayed with color wash (lettuce and butterscotch), then stamped the house image in black archival ink.  Those bright greens & yellows over the dark background really makes the house "pop".  It's hard to see in the pic above, but I added some silver wire to the chimney to look like smoke - maybe should've used thicker wire so it would show better... next time...

Added the 7 gypsies charm with star and moon with a charm clip to keep with the nighttime theme, and the "home sweet home" sentiment printed out from the computer.  I'm doing that a lot lately - using homemade sentiments rather than trying to find the exact sentiment in stamp form.  

The bottom section - stamped the circle border from the Around the Edge set and went over the images with white pigment pen (do you see a theme emerging?? I've rediscovered the white pen - loving it!). Then added some of Tim's elastic trim with some metal ribbon by Martha Stewart over top (hides the tiny attacher staples I used to attached the elastic trim!). 

And there you go.... I've still got 3 more tags, plus a bonus project to share - stay tuned - I'll keep them coming!  See you tomorrow!

~ ellen.

June 3, 2011

Dylusions - Day 2


I'm back again with another tag made with the *fabulous* Dylusions stamps by Dyan Reaveley! I've had so much fun playing with these stamps - they are so playful, and quirky, and just, well... FUN!  Here's the next creation:

This tag was also started with color wash sprays on the background - butterscotch and red pepper, then spritzed with water and then heat set.  Then I started adding loads of stamps! 

Starting from the top... I used the polka dot background from Wendy Vecchi's Studio 490 stamps, using white paint dabber for the stamping.  Then added the "Art" letters from Tim Holtz' alpha parts.

The main feature has to be the mushrooms.... or... toadstools for all you UK'ers. These images are from the Doolally Doris set.  I added white enamel accents to the spots to really make them stand out against the bright background.  Added in the spider (Bits & Bats set) and the little leafy flowers (How Does Your Garden Grow set) for interest.

Across the bottom border I used one of the borders from Dyan's Around the Edge stamp set, and again added white enamel accents to the polka dots, and some white pigment pen on the stripes in the half-circles. 

To separate the different sections of the tag I used pom pom trim by Maya Road at the top, and Tim's measuring tape at the bottom.  The final touch was to add an ornate frame with another mushroom stamped on sticky back canvas.  I distressed the metal frame with some white paint dabber to give a shabby chic look. 

I traced around most of the images with a white pigment pen to give it a more whimsical look.  These images are so fun to embellish and play with - they are so full of details to fill in with dots or dashes or stripes or whatever your heart desires.  

Topped off the tag with some rag trim I got in the UK from LB Crafts - love it!  Hope you're enjoying my Dylusions dabblings... I'll be back tomorrow with another tag!

'Til then! 

~ ellen.

June 2, 2011

Dylusions - Day 1

Hey there!

I hope all is well in your particular part of the world - here in Baltimore it has been sweltering hot for the past 5 days and I am ready for the heat to go away! Fingers crossed....  Before I get to today's project... I want to share a good opportunity to learn something new (for me, anyway)...

I've been looking forward to playing along with Donna Downey's Pan Pastel on-line video series.  The first class is available now, and the second class will be available on June 15.  I've been watching Donna experiment with pan pastels in her Inspiration Wednesday videos, and this is the perfect way to get started and try them out.  I've got my video, and now I'm waiting for all the supplies to arrive so I can get started.  I'll share some of my projects when I get everything.

To help beat the heat, I've been having a good play with Dyan Reaveley's Dylusions stamps (available directly from Art From The Heart in the UK, or at eclecticPaperie in the US).  I've done several since last week and I'll be sharing them over the next few days.  Hope you enjoy.  Here we go with tag #1!

I started by spraying the tag with a few different colors of Ranger's color wash sprays, then spritzing with water to let them blend together.  I've had my eye on this girl from the Ruby Rainbow stamp set - I just love her hair!  And it was the perfect reason to break out my Pearl Pen (copper) - here's a close up of all the sections filled in with dots from the pearl pen.

I love the dimension - looks like dreadlocks, right?  Fun!  I painted in her eyes with a tiny bit of green paint, and gave her lips and boots some extra sparkle with some Xmas Red stickles.

The checkerboard boarder (checker-boarder??) came from the Around the Edge stamp set, also Dylusions.  And the circles were stamped with different caps (mini mister and color wash, I believe) with white and black paint.

The metal corner is from 7 Gypsies newest release - just picked those up at The Queen's Ink - love that they are adhesive backed and ready to add to anything.  The "buttons" on Ruby's coat are silver snaps that I colored with copper alcohol ink.  And, finally, broke out my Inkssentials white pigment pen to fill in some detail on Ruby's collar, coat and stockings.

Added the "express yourself" sentiment, which I just printed out on my printer, and inked with Antique Linen distress ink.  Et voila! 

I'll be back with more Dylusions tags - hope you enjoy following along.  See you tomorrow!

~ ellen