May 31, 2012

Zentangle Play

Hello again,

During  my recent bout of forced "down time" I did some playing in my sketchbook with some Zentangle patterns.  I divided my 5x7 page into 4 sections and did a different "tangle" in each one.

I found the pattern for the two sections on the left on the Zentangle YouTube channel.  It's called "Betweed".  Here's a link.  Mine didn't turn out quite as well, but you gotta start somewhere.

The top right tangle is one of my favorites and is super easy to do.  It looks like pick-up sticks to me.

But the tangle on the bottom right is my favorite, and is my first first original pattern (at least I had never seen it before).

I started out by drawing flower petals in each corner of the section, and then attached petals opposite each other with curvy lines... hope this makes sense.... drew curvy line from top right of the petal on the bottom right to the bottom left of the petal on the top left.... wow... if you can follow that I salute you!  Repeated same all the way around and then added extra lines to fill in and accent.  I think it looks like the petals are growing upwards towards you.  May need to try this in a bigger size to see how it looks.

Hope you enjoyed my tangles.  One more couch-time post to share - will be back once i can take pix, etc.  Decided it was time to try hand-carved stamps - addictive!

Be back soon - take care til then.

~ ellen.

May 29, 2012


Hi all,

Sorry it's been a while since my last post - I've been a bit under the weather.  I've had quite a bit of couch time and was able to do some sketching...

These first two were done in my pocket size sketch book (approx. 3 x 5) on watercolor paper with Tim Holtz' distress markers first, and black sharpie added after... shadows were done with pumice stone distress marker.

The next two were also done in pocket sketchbook on watercolor paper, with watercolor paint first, and black pen added after...

Next up are some sketches done in my 5x7 sketchbook on multimedia paper.  Watercolor paints first, then pen work...

My first NON-flower sketch... wavy overlapping lines in pen, then filled in with watercolor paint.  Was practicing getting graduated tones of same color.

Hope you enjoyed... be back soon with more "couch" projects...

~ ellen.

May 21, 2012

Simon Says Stamp and Show.... Summer!

Hi everyone,

I suppose I should start off by saying that, sadly, this will be my last post for Simon Says Stamp and Show.  I have some personal issues may impact my time in a potentially significant way, and I made the tough decision to step down.  I'll still be finding time to be creative, but it may not be possible to do that according to a deadline... 

I'm very sad to be saying farewell to my amazing teammates.  They truly are a wonderful group of talented designers, and more importantly, they are all so genuinely kind and generous.  Couldn't ask for a nicer group to work with.  Thanks to all of them, and especially to Heidi at Simon Says Stamp for giving me a chance!  I'll never forget it.

That said.... this week's theme is "Summer Holiday".  When I think of summer, I think of swimming, so decided to use one of the backgrounds from my Ranger Mixed Media Background post - click HERE for details - because it reminds me of a swimming pool.

With the background already completed, I added the dressform / spool and butterfly stamps with black archival ink.  Then I stamped the Papillon background in magenta hue archival ink over the entire background - it's subtle, but adds a bit of interest.

Then, I had some leftover paper I used for wiping my brush when watercolor painting, and decided to die cut it with Tim's butterfly movers and shapers.  I over-stamped them with the papillon background and vermillion archival ink.  LOVE this look - will definitely be saving my watercolor scratch paper! It looks like splattered paint in all kinds of colors - and you never know exactly what you'll get when you die cut - FUN!

I added a philosophy tag altered with watermelon paint dabber, and finished it off with a hand-stamped sentiment using a mini alphabet stamp set, and a dotted border with a white paint pen.

The ribbon I used on the tag top isn't really ribbon at all, but scraps from sari's - I got a whole skein of it in a neutral color - it dyes beautifully - these scraps were dyed with Dylusions ink sprays - bubblegum pink and postbox red.

Hope you all have a chance to join in this week's challenge - summer is almost here!  Time to start daydreaming!  As always, you'll have a chance at winning a $50 shopping spree to Simon Says Stamp.

Thanks for stopping by! 

~ ellen.

May 14, 2012

Mini Sketchbook - Ranger/Vintaj Patinas Tutorial

Hi Everyone,

This week we have another "Anything Goes" theme on the Simon Says Stamp and Show Challenge, so I wanted to take the opportunity to play with the new Patinas from Ranger/Vintaj.   I had several colors to play with, and used this video by Jess at Vintaj to give myself a foundation of knowledge before getting started. 

Thought I would document the step-by-steps for those of you who, like me, need some visual how-to's when playing with a new product.

Here's the finished project, so you know where we're headed...

As you know, I've been doing a lot of sketching, and wanted to have a small, pocket-sized book that would fit in my handbag. The point of all my sketching is to figure out what "my style" is... I'm very good at doing projects using others' products and techniques, but I want to bring more authenticity to "my" art, so... I'm working on it...

I started with Wendy Vecchi's small pages art parts - they are perfect for mini books - they are 3" x 5" and adorable.  I painted around the edges, front and back, with a black paint dabber.

Since I wanted to work with Patinas, it was natural to break out the TenSeconds Studio metal.  I embossed 4 sheets with a Sizzix embossing folder.  It doesn't matter what color metal you use, because when you sand off the raised areas (at the end) the only color that shows through is the base silver.

Then it was time to break out the patinas.  I chose these four colors (verdigris, jade, clay and moss):

The video suggests using the flat area of the brush to "pat" the colors on, but after some experimenting, I found that pouncing worked better for me.  I dripped all the different colors onto the metal sheets first... (I had adhered the metal sheets to some double-sided adhesive sheets.  Ranger's wonder tape would be perfect for this, but sadly I didn't have any, so used what I had).

And then I started pouncing... here's the progress...

Now it's time to get the sanding block out and sand the raised areas, revealing the metal below...

Transforms the whole thing, right? I love this look!  But I also like the metal when it is "aged" so I used a black paint dabber to spread a thin layer of black paint over the whole sheet (half first, then the other half)...

Now use a paper towel (kitchen roll for you UK peeps) to wipe off the excess paint, leaving an aged look behind...

Then I decided to use the Ranger/Vintaj glaze to coat the aged piece.  This is really intended for pure metal (like real brass) pieces, to keep the sanded areas from aging, but I just liked the sealed / glazed look, so I went for it, brushing on a thin coat with a paint brush...

Here's the finished pages... 4 sheets - 2 for the front cover and 2 for the back cover

I punched holes in the metal sheets to match up with the covers.  Then it was time to adhere the metal to the small covers.  I peeled the backing off the adhesive sheet and lined it up with the scalloped edge of the page.  I didn't want to get into trimming around the curvy edges, so left them exposed.

To embellish the front cover, I used Tim Holtz' alpha parts, and gave them a metallic look by using Viva's Inka Gold (old silver, copper, and lava green).  I also added one of Tim's new word bands.  I got the lettering blue by using a Pool paint dabber over the whole piece, and then wiped off the excess with my thumb.  Paper towels don't work well for me - they tend to remove the paint from the recessed areas as well, which sort of defeats the purpose...

For my pages, I cut down watercolor paper to the correct size and used my Cinch to punch holes in all the pages.  I bound it together using D-rings so the journal would lay flat when opened.

Hope you enjoyed the tutorial and find some time to play with the new patinas.  They are so gorgeous, and so easy to use! 

No excuse not to join in this week's challenge - just make something... anything! You'll have a chance at winning a $50 shopping spree to Simon Says Stamp.

Have a great week!

~ ellen.

May 9, 2012

Watercolor Flowers


As promised, I wanted to share some more of my watercolor flower sketches.  These sketches came at the end of a lot of experimentation, and I'm quite pleased with them.  Hope you enjoy.

This trio of sketches was done with watercolor paints and a pigma pen.  I painted the watercolors first, starting with the lighter tone and then adding the darker accents on top, leaving some white space for highlights and accents. 

Here's a few close ups...

And here's a few more of the same type of flower, done in the same way, but with a few extras... a blue background on one, and some grasses and leaves on the other.

And here is my favorite of all my sketches so far.  It's the same type of flower, but on a large piece of watercolor paper (approx 6" x 12"), multiple flowers, different colors, different sizes, heights, etc.

And some close ups...

I'll be continuing on my sketching journey and will keep sharing when there is more to share.   Eventually I'll have to sketch something other than flowers, but for now... I'm really having fun with them!  May continue on this path but try different mediums... we'll see! 

Until next time.... I'll say it again... if you think you can't draw... TRY... you may be surprised!  I certainly was, and I was a long-time nay-sayer.  Just go for it!

~ ellen.

May 7, 2012

Simon Says Stamp and Show... Your Favorite Stamp


This week's theme on the Simon Says Stamp and Show Challenge is to use your favorite stamp.  I didn't have to think long about this one... there was really no doubt... the leafy vine stamp from Dyan Reaveley's Dylusions line.  So I went to town with a jumbo tag and all things Dylusional...

I used ink sprays to create a colorful background, and then added layers... more ink sprayed through the letter jumble and dotted flower stencils, and then some white gesso scraped through the diamond border stencil.

Then I stamped the leafy vine at varying heights from both the bottom and top of the tag, and the flying birds from the Bits and Bats set.  Both the leaves and the birds were stamped with jet black archival ink.

I painted in the leaves with a mix of perfect pearls (green patina and forever red) and water, and outlined all the leaves and birds with a white gel pen.  The character was colored in with distress stains and a water brush.

Of course, I had to create some sort of funky character, which is so fun to do with Dylusions stamps, mixing and matching body parts (building), legs and faces, and now... hair

Finally, added the sentiment from THIS set, cutting it up into pieces and adhering to the tag.

Hope you enjoyed coming along for the Dylusional ride this week.  Make sure you carve out some time to join in this week's challenge.  As always, our generous host Simon Says Stamp is donating a $50 shopping spree to a random winner!

Have a great week!

~ ellen