August 28, 2012

Jingle Your Own Bells...


Thought I'd share another #12 Dylusions Tag I made recently.  Once again, I started with Ranger's new #12 manila tag.  Used crushed grape and vibrant turquoise Dylusions ink sprays for the first layer of the background.

Did some ghosting with the graduated circles stencil, sprayed more purple ink through the alpha stencil, and stamped the numbers background with deep purple archival ink. Then added some gesso scraped through the circle stencil.

Stamped Curious Corrin on white card stock and colored her in with ink spray and a water brush, added the hat (stamped on script paper) from the new Christmas Accessories stamp set, the Christmas light border (Christmas Borders set) colored in with stickles, the twisted ribbon border from the Inbetweenies set, the Christmas calendar page (Christmas Accessories set) and of course, this awesome sentiment from the new Christmas Words set.  I can just hear Dyan saying these words! LOL!

Topped it off with some ribbon, some jingle bells (HAD to be done), and a Christmas muse token from Tim Holtz. 

As usual, all of the items used on this tag are available locally in the Baltimore-Washington area at The Queens Ink, in the U.K. at Art From the Heart, and on-line in the U.S. from Simon Says Stamp!

Have a great day!

~ ellen.

August 27, 2012

Better Than I Even Imagined

Hi All,

As most of you know, I was quite the lucky girl last week as I had the opportunity to take 4 classes over 2 days with Tim Holtz.  I've been following Tim's art, blog, videos, shows, and products for about 4 years now, but this is the first opportunity I've had to take classes with him.  I'll show some pix of the experience as I share the things that meant the most to me... Right up front, the requisite pictures of me with Tim and Mario.  HAD to be done, right?

As you can probably imagine, the anticipation was palpable and my imagination was running wild leading up to the event.  I can tell you without hesitation that the experience was one I will *never* forget!  Not only was I able to take the classes, but I got a seat right up front, right next to Tim's work table, for all 4 classes.

Queen Patti - playing her part! :)
Me and my good friend Donna - we had a blast together!
Tim has been teaching for a long time, and understandably, he's quite good at it.  The classes were paced perfectly to allow plenty of time to listen to instruction, to do the work, and to have a lot of fun and laughter along the way.  There was never a sense of being rushed.  And a surprise for me was that he is really funny!  He loves to talk and loves to tell stories about all his teaching adventures.  But the thing he kept repeating, that I slowly came to believe, is this.... "He IS one of us."  He has all the same crazy thoughts, understands the excitement of new experiences, and was able to relate to everyone on such a wonderfully natural level.  That is what I will remember most.

Souvenir tote bag from the Queens Ink.  I got mine signed by both Tim and Mario after this pic.
Heart & Soul - awesome project - and easier than it looks.
Patchwork Pandemonium - marathon class!  So worth it!
Just as exciting was the chance to meet Mr. BTS ("Behind The Scenes" for those of you who haven't been following him on Twitter), Mario, Tim's Business Manager.  I don't know what it is about Mario - it's hard to explain, but he just oozes kindness and enthusiasm.  He has an uncanny ability to make everyone feel special, and I was no exception.  From the moment Tim & Mario walked in the door (to find me blissfully unaware of their presence, busy helping out with some vacuuming in the store), to the time we had to say goodbye, Mario just quietly made sure everything was done, and all the while made everyone feel like they were a true friend.  That is such a special gift! 

Our bag of stash for the Configurations class - some of it from Tim's personal collection.
My (almost) finished Configurations box.  Still working on it.
I somehow neglected to take pix of the ruler-bound tag book we made - will share that when I finish it, which could be a while. 

So - all in all - the classes were amazing - but what I'll really remember is the kindness, the excitement, and the generosity.  Tim actually bought 100 vintage clothes hangers - one for every person in the Patchwork class.  He had one for his sample, and figured everyone needed one.  They were $10 each!  Yes - do the math - wow.  Sorry for the blurry pic - was so excited and didn't want to miss the shot as they were handing them out VERY quickly!

Thanks for listening to my rambling... if you've never had a chance to take a class with Tim & Mario, don't pass up the opportunity if it comes your way.  Honestly, it doesn't even matter what the class is - just GO.  You won't regret it.  I'll be back to blogging tags and journal pages soon. 

~ ellen.

August 22, 2012

Learn To Fly - Journal Page

Good morning!

I was tossing and turning all night and finally gave up at 5:00 am... today is the day!  In three short hours, the first class with Tim Holtz will be starting! Can you tell I'm a tad excited? (such a geek)  Today we'll be doing the metal heart and patchwork pandemonium... bring it on!

Wanted to share a journal page I did during my recovery time off from work...

Went with song lyrics again for the journaling... one of my favorite songs of all time... Blackbird by The Beatles.  Classic.  Page was done Teesha Moore style - painted background, collage border from magazine pages, and the collaged bird / wings / hat.  The wings are actually fins from a whale that I cut down.  And of course... all birds need a hat (right Dyan?) 

I'm off to pack my lunch, shower, and make myself presentable! I'll try to post pix on Twitter / Instagram (@ellenvargo on Twitter).

Have a great day!

~ ellen.

August 20, 2012

Ho-Ho-Holly Dylusions Tag


Hope everyone had a nice weekend.  I was very busy, but it felt good to get a lot done.  Wanted to share another #12 Tag I made for Queens Ink using the new Dylusions stamps and stencils.

Started with a #12 tag and created a blended background using postbox red, fresh lime and cut grass ink sprays.  Did some stencil spraying and additional background stamping, but the real focus was on the gorgeous new holly border stamp. LOVE this stamp! Stamped in jet black archival all around the edges, and then painted it in with the cut grass and postbox red inks and a water brush.

Next I traced the large Christmas tree stencil onto book text, sprayed with the green ink sprays, and cut it out, and did the same with the trunk, spraying with the melted chocolate ink spray.  Then I stamped the ornament border stamp onto white card stock, colored with with ink sprays, cut out each ornament, adhered to the tree with foam dots, and gave each one a thin coat of glossy accents for a glassy shine.

Added a sentiment stamp and the "merry Christmas" greeting across the bottom border (also raised up with foam dots).  Stamped this one with Vermillion archival ink to emphasize the candy cane pattern.

As usual, all of the items used on this tag are available locally in the Baltimore-Washington area at The Queens Ink, in the U.K. at Art From the Heart, and on-line in the U.S. from Simon Says Stamp! Hope you enjoyed today's tag.  I'll have another journal page to share later this week.  Have a great Monday!  Only 2 more sleeps til... well.... you know.... classes with Tim Holtz!  Yay!

~ ellen.

August 18, 2012

Did I Mention???


Time is just whizzing by lately... feels like I just got back to work yesterday and the whole week has flown by.  Given the amount of work I have to do, that's not really a good thing...


there is a big UP side!  The up side is that I have only 3 sleeps to go before I have a "first-time" experience!  Any guesses?  I'll give you a hint...

Yes!  It's true!  Tim Holtz (and just as importantly... Mr. BTS (Behind The Scenes) Mario!) are coming to The Queens Ink next week!  I've never had the opportunity to take classes with Tim (oops.... t!m) so I am, understandably, quite excited!  He's teaching 4 classes.... here's what we'll be making.... can't wait!

Looks amazing, right?  I know... I'm bragging a little, but after 3+ years of inspiration, admiration, and learning from afar... it will be wonderful to have an in-person "t!m" experience.  Come on Wednesday!

I'll be back on Monday with another Dylusions project.... have a wonderful weekend!

~ ellen. 

August 17, 2012

Back to Back Dylusions Tags


Today's tag started as a result of my struggles to master Dyan's "ghosting" technique... I know what you're thinking... 'what's the big deal'?  Well... for some reason... I just could not get it through my thick skull that you do NOT dry the inks in the background... like AT ALL... before doing the ghosting.  It took a phone call with Queen Patti AND an in person scolding and demo... boy did I feel silly...

That said... the back side of this back-to-back project was the demo tag that Patti did for me... to prove once and for all ... STEP AWAY FROM THE HEAT GUN ELLEN!   :)  All of this was done with good grace and humor... it was actually hysterical, and by the time I left the store they were calling me "Casper"... as in "The Friendly Ghost" !!! ROFL!  Here we go...

Started with Dylusions spray inks in post box red, squeezed orange and lemon zest.  It won't come as a surprise that I did NOT heat dry the background at this stage.  Then I did some ghosting with the alpha stencil, and it worked! Added some more stencil spraying with alphas and circles, did some lines with the craft scraper and gesso, and big circles with a jar lid.  Did a hand-sketched border.  Then drew a house on some book text and colored it in with Faber Castell water color pencils / water brush.  Added the sentiment and some outlines / white gelly roll pen accents... Side A done... the arrow stamp tells you to flip the tag over for Side B....

Same techniques as Side A... ink spray background, ghosting with stencils, then ink sprays through stencils, hand sketched border, hand drawn house on book text, water color pencils, and part 2 of the  sentiment.  I stapled the two tags together, back-to-back, with a Tiny Attacher "X" in each corner.

All credit for the hand-drawn houses goes to Kate Crane... I just got her two new Art Journaling DVD's (Bold Backgrounds and Personalized Pages) and they are AWESOME!  Her instruction is very laid back, low key and calming, and packed with lots of detail and tips.  Such a great value - $29.99 for over 3 hours of instruction... can't go wrong.  Thanks for the reminders and inspiration, Kate!  If you're in the US, you can order her DVD's HERE

All of the items used on this tag are available locally in the Baltimore-Washington area at The Queens Ink, in the U.K. at Art From the Heart, and on-line in the U.S. from Simon Says Stamp!

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

~ ellen.

August 15, 2012

Journal Page

Hi all,

During my recovery, I spent a lot of time crafting in what I aptly named my "satellite studio" - also known as the living room!  Since I wanted to limit the amount of supplies needed, I decided to do some collage style journaling - Teesha Moore style. 

Here are Teesha's YouTube videos on making the 16-page journals she is known for.  I've shared these before, but they're awesome... so figured I'd share again.  This is part 1...

 And part 2...

I made up 3 of her 16 page journals (only worked on one), painted backgrounds, and did a lot of magazine clipping, which then turned into a couple of finished pages.  Here is the first one...

As I've mentioned before, I really struggle with the journaling part of art journaling.  But, music has always been a big part of my life, so I decided to use some song lyrics that are particularly meaningful for me.  This page has portions of the lyrics from Jackson Browne's "Alive in the World".  To me, it speaks of being truly engaged and present in the world and in your life.  It's a great reminder to truly LIVE.  Definitely works for me.  If you haven't heard this song, the best version (in my opinion) is on the Live Acoustic Vol. 2 album... look it up on iTunes... you'll love it.

Keeping it short and sweet today.... Have a good one!

~ ellen.

August 13, 2012

New Dylusions Tag - Reach for the Stars


Happy to be back in blog land!  I've taken the last few weeks off as I've been recovering from surgery.  Since most of you reading this are of the female persuasion, I'm sure you'll understand.... I was having some fairly intense female issues and needed to have a hysterectomy.  I, for one, am *thrilled* to be finished with that particular part of womanhood!  I'm feeling back to normal now, going back to work today, and wanted to share a Dylusions project.

During my recovery I was sooo fortunate to receive all the new Dylusions stamps and stencils!  Perfect timing!  Here's a tag I made using the new stars stencil...

I started by creating a background using Dylusions ink sprays on a Ranger #12 manila tag.  These tags are GI-NORMOUS!  After the ink sprays, I added some additional interest using the circle and alphabet stencils, spraying through them with additional ink spray.

Then I got the new Stars stencil out and traced through it with a black sharpie pen, and painted in each star with a few coats of white gesso.  Then I traced around each star again with a black Stabilo-All pencil (a.k.a. the "magic pencil" according to Dina Wakley).  When you paint over the pencil with a water brush, it blends and bleeds slightly creating instant shadow and depth.  Love them!  (A charcoal pencil or black watercolor pencil would have a similar effect.)

Added the flying birds stamp from the "Bits and Bats" stamp set, and the "eyeball" border from the "Inbetweenies" stamp set, highlighting around each bird and inside each eye with a white gelly roll pen.

The final touch was added the sentiment, which I stamped using two different alpha stamp sets, cutting out each word and outlining with black sharpie for definition.

Hope you enjoyed this Dylusions project - I'm loving the new stamps and stencils and have LOTS more to share over the coming weeks.  Lots of holiday options!

All of the items used on this tag are available locally in the Baltimore-Washington area at The Queens Ink (where this tag will happily reside in the Queen-dom), in the U.K. at Art From the Heart, and on-line in the U.S. from Simon Says Stamp!  

Thanks for stopping by - it feels great to be back among the bloggers of the world!  Now I better go and get myself ready to head back to work.... I'll be back regularly with some more projects from my time off. 

~ ellen.