Saturday, February 28, 2009

Paint Rags as Art -- the color of GREEN





I wish that I could give you a huge list of things that I am currently doing that would be considered "green." But, in reality, I am taking baby steps. A layout that you will see later this week was inspired by a moment of exasperation when yet ANOTHER yellow pages book showed up on my doorstep. It feels like these HUGE books get outdated faster than they can be printed -- and with competitive books -- it just means that the number you are likely to get is doubled. I hate the idea of throwing out pages and pages of paper into a landfill...so I looked at the book a little and decided there were at least TWO uses I could repurpose it for.


The first was as a leaf/flower press. I am going to try and do some mono prints with natural materials...and having them FLAT is a key part of that....so now that book is my official press. I took a few minutes and added some wax paper between several spaced out pages...and it is ready and waiting for spring and my mono-printing project. The fact that it has become a TOOL makes me feel better about it.


Secondly, (since in face TWO yellow pages books showed up on my porch simultaneously) and I never use them -- I hop on the internet when I need a phone number...that was just driving me BATTY seeing all that wasted paper -- probably headed to a land fill. So -- with the second one I started tearing out sheets of the white pages (number listings)....you will see what I made with those in a day or so. But an idea for you Moms would be to save the yellow pages books and do a paper mache project with the kiddos...you could make a pinata around a baloon using the paper and some flour paste as glue. Fun stuff...good messy fun -- and GREEN!


Ahhhh but I digress. Today's card was created from a paint rag. One of my things I have been trying to do in my studio is to not use so many paper towels or baby wipes. I have several old hand towels that I use...the same way I would use a paper towel...wiping up paint or glue or whatever (When these get dirty, I can just throw them in the washer with bleach and they are good as new)....and then I have torn some strips of muslin and have them in a tub for when I need to blend inks on a page....This background is the result of one of those strips of muslin being totally soaked with color. I don't wash these...I just set them aside to make flowers or something else out of....but this one just ended up as my background because I thought it was kind of interesting.


Just as a fun side note...the "artificially colored" stamp is one Royce found for me at the Nashville Flea market. Actually, he found about 50 old stamps from a meat packing house...they are AWESOME....and I am determined to use them....although it isn't just ANY layout that you need a stamp that says PORK SAUSAGE or "FRESH GROUND LAMB!" but I am sure that if I just think about it for a bit, I can find the perfect way to use them. I just LOVE them....worn almost to the nub from use...and the fact that he KNEW me well enough to know that I would adore having the stamps. Oh -- and he also got the huge lidded box that they came in (pictured above) -- ink stained...I just love it...clearly going to be a stamp storage solution for me when I get my studio a bit more organized. My other treasures seen here is a huge old family bible, a turkey cookie cutter and some Chandelier crystals. Am I blessed beyond measure or what!?!?!?!
Happy last day of February...hope you enjoy it -- and are ready for March to "come in like a lion."

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Gel Medium Transfer


Journaling: Serenity on the face of a woman captures a sense of eternity in a way that beauty never could.
I have tried lots of ways to take an image and transfer it to paper or fabric -- and this is one of the easiest. One of the things I like, is that you can print the image out on your own ink jet printer -- on a transparency. Remember that it will transfer "backwards" so if there is writing on your image, you will want to select print mirror image on your printer settings. Here are the steps for doing the transfer:
1. spread a generous amount of gel medium (gloss or matte) onto your paper or fabric. I really can only tell that I have enough by spreading it out with my fingertips. It needs to be very moist and "slickery."
2. Quickly put the image (printed side down) into the gel medium and let it sit for at least 30-45 seconds.
3. Take a spoon and begin to rub from the center to the edges fairly firmly. Because it is a bit slippery, use one hand to hold the transfer in place.
4. Peel up a corner and check to see if you are getting a good transfer. If not, rub a bit more -- if so, go ahead and peel back the transparency.
Each transfer will turn out different -- I think that is part of the beauty of them. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Working With Embossing


For this card, I really wanted the leafy background -- but I also wanted to make sure I had room for the stamped word "passion." First, I stamped the word "passion" with red ink and embossed it with clear embossing powder. Then I used clear embossing ink and stamped the background and sprinkled espresso embossing powder. Before I used my heat gun to melt the powder, I took a soft paint brush (soft works much better than stiff) and holding the card upside down, I brushed away the powder that was covering up my previously stamped word. Once I had removed the extra powder, I heated the background. The embossing powder acts as a resist so I could then rub distress ink into the cardstock and stain the paper with various colors to create the multi-hued background.
It sounds like a lot of steps...but it really is very simple...try it!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Stamping on Acrylic


Similar to the stamping we did on the buttons a few days ago -- you can also stamp on a sheet of acrylic or a transparency to give added dimension to your embellishments or pages.
You will need to use solvent ink (like Stazon) and give it a few minutes to dry before handling -- but I love the look of stamped images over other elements on my page. On this page, I stamped the tree and the butterfly in white and then put the piece of acrylic on pop-dots (in the corners -- hidden by the eyelets and twine) to raise it up off of the sheet of butterflies. I also used rubons (American Craft -Jane) to add the word, flutter. Below is the finished page.

I saw an ad in Anthropologie that showed a window with this pale blue color behind it -- it was filled with butterflies and was totally inspired to try and recreate it a bit.
Journaling reads: It is my nature to worry and when things are not going quite right, my heart begins to flutter with anxiety. I am so glad that my Father in heaven has told me that He cares about the things I care about -- and that I can trust Him to take care of me. Be still my heart.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Gesso-ing Book Paper


I am just a fan of words...in all shapes and forms....so using book pages as part of a background is a natural for me. However, sometimes your images can get lost on the page because of the strength of the words on the book pages...so what do you do to "tone it down" a bit? Gesso.
Gesso is slightly chalky -- but is very opaque (which is why it is good for covering things up as a primer)...so you want to be a little careful how you use it or you will totally obliterate the words from your background. I have found that if you load your brush with gesso and then use a paper towel to "brush off" most of the excess gesso -- you will get a nice "dry brush" effect that softens the words or images on your background papers -- still allowing them to be visible, but not dominant.
The other thing I did on this card was to dry brush just a touch of cream color acrylic paint over the gesso -- I could have put the acrylic paint into the gesso to tint it (which I probably would have liked better -- but I just forgot). Then after that was dry...and dripped some watered down acrylic paint at the top of the card and let it run down to give a bit more visual interest.
Thanks for stopping by -- hope you are having a great week.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Inking with Embossed Resist


This technique has so many variations, it could keep you busy for WEEKS! hee hee I think you will be seeing it from me several times in the days to come because my mind has been having fun thinking up new projects to try out -- so hopefully I will have some to share soon. Let me share with you the basics...and then I would love to see what you come up with.
Basic Embossed Resist Technique:
1. Ink a stamp with embossing ink.
2. Sprinkle the stamped image with embossing powder (clear or tinted).
3. Heat the embossing powder with a heat gun until melted. Let cool.
4. Apply distress or chalk inks in multiple colors to background.
5. Wipe the excess ink off of the embossed image with a baby wipe.
A few variations you might want to try:
1. Use colored ink for your stamped image.
2. Used tinted embossing powder (or put different colors on different areas of the image).
3. Collage multiple stamped images.
4. Use Distress Embossing powder -- and rub the release crystals off prior to inking your background.
Have fun...and let me see where you go with your creative muse!

Monday, February 09, 2009

Stamping on Buttons



I am so excited about this Monday morning...I think there is something fresh and new about the beginning of a new week. Hope you are anticipating a great week too.

Today's card started from a scrap of vintage wall-paper. I sometimes think I am an "old" lady stuck in a young woman's body -- just because of the things that I love!

There really wasn't much needed for this card after I glued the scrap of paper to my card...just wanted to pull out some of that red and green in the embellishments...and chose a couple of buttons to do that. They looked too "modern" on the page...so I decided to stamp a bit on them.

To stamp on plastic you need to use solvent ink (Like Stazon or Archiver Ink by Ranger). Because of the rounded surface on buttons, I have found that small stamps work best. You can stamp and turn the button several times until it has been covered with the image the way you like.

Just tie a bit of twine through the buttons and add to your page...and you have a lovely embellishment!

Have a superb week...filled with lots of creativity!

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Stamping on Material


Add stamped images or words to a card or layout by putting them on material. I like the frayed edge of this label (I ripped the fabric rather than cutting it to give it the frayed edge).
To get a crisp image don't use chalk or water based inks...they will absorb and blur when printed onto the fabric. I use solvent inks like Stazon on Archival Inks by Ranger.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Faux Marble on Acrylic


I am having so much fun playing with acrylic scraps these days. I used a left over piece of Hambly Clearly Heavy overlay to for the foundation of this card. I put the piece through my cuttlebug and cut out the flower shape...and stamped the petals with Stazon Opaque White.
To create the look of marble I used three shades of blue alcohol ink (with a bit of liquid extender) on a felt pad and pounced them over the acrylic card...leaving the flower blank. Let the ink dry and then repounce. Finally, I backed the card with a piece of white vinyl. The vinyl has texture and adds depth of color to the ink stained card.
Embelish with doodling and liquid pearls.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Faux Wax Seal


This is another fun "faux" technique.
To create this faux wax seal I used embossing ink, UTEE (ultra thick embossing enamel) powder, heat gun, small piece of chipboard, Perfect Pearls, a bit of acrylic paint or some alcohol ink -- and finally a rubber stamp or wax stamp. It is also helpful to have a pair of tweezers
Begin by cutting a circle out of chipboard slightly smaller than the size you want your finished "seal" to be and covering with a good coat of embossing ink....and sprinkling UTEE powder to cover. Sprinkle a mound of UTEE powder on a scrap piece of paper for dipping. Melt the powder with your heat gun (holding it with tweezers) and then immediately dip the chipboard in the little mound of powder while it is still warm...and then melt that layer as well.
Continue this process -- along with sprinkling a bit of Perfect Pearls onto the top dipped chipboard in between meltings. Let the UTEE melt over the sides. When you get a thickness that resembles a wax seal, use a small rubber stamp or wax stamp to create an impression in your melted UTEE (do this immediately after your last melting). Leave the stamp in place for a couple of minutes and let the UTEE cool...then remove the stamp. You can highlight the impression by brushing across it with a dry brush of metalic paint...or use alcohol inks to stain it the color that you would like.
When I am doing this -- I make several faux wax impressions and keep them for future projects.
Would love to see any projects that you are creating...so please link me to them in the comment section.
We finished up the first round of speeches this semester today...and I have to say that I am impressed with this group of students. These were some of the most creative speeches I have heard...and I am sure they will only get better as the semester goes on. I feel so blessed to get to work with these University students...they sure keep me on my toes -- but I get to the end of each class and feel like we are making progress...and hopefully are helping prepare them to accomplish great things in their futures.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Masking Tape Technique


I love the look of old book papers...or printed leather...and I think this technique gives me a feel of that with just a couple of steps.
First begin by covering your substrate with torn pieces of masking tape. Overlap them at odd angles for the best results...
Next brush a thin layer of mod podge over the surface and let it dry.
Finally, create a tinted glaze by adding water to acrylic paint. If you want it to stain darker use less water...the lighter you want it -- use more. Brush the glaze over your background and let it stand for a few moments, then use a paper towel to wipe it off. Repeat to add depth...and maybe even change the color of the glaze to give it even greater depth.
It's as easy as that.