Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Set The Fear Aside

Hello everyone, hope you are having a great week.  I've been working on a project that was inspired by the new challenge blog Creative Carte Blanche.  This blog is the brain child of a group of amazingly talented artists: Annette Green, Candy Colwell, Cheryl Grigsby, Hels Sheridan, Linda Ledbetter, Susan Mostek and Yvonne Blair (quite the line up, right?!) and they are challenging us to 'approach your art with a sense of freedom and a spirit of exploration'.  The aim as I understand it is to help us all find our own voices, find what inspires us, find what makes us happy and to make our art without fear.  And their first challenge is to;


Oh boy, that's not intimidating at all LOL!

In looking at my own work, I know that I have a pretty set comfort zone; vintage/shabby/distressed, muted colour palette, use of embellishments, stamping and texture can be found in just about everything that I make.  So I decided to challenge myself to create something abstract-ish using a vibrant colour palette and to use only paint, inks and stains ... no embellishments, no stamps, just a few favourite stencils.  A journal spread seemed the perfect place to experiment and here is what I ended up creating.


Do I like it?  Hmmm, the jury is still out on that one!  Did I succeed in my goals?  Well, it's certainly more abstract than my usual style and I didn't use any embellishments or stamps so I did fulfill those goals.  But while I started out with some VERY vibrant colours in the end I just couldn't take it and knocked them all back with gesso and more muted Distress inks LOL!  And while it may not look anything like what I usually make, I can still see some of the elements that have always inspired me.

Nature is very much present in the plant forms of the Paper Artsy and Dina Wakley stencils:


and in Tim Holtz's Tracks stencil (it's always reminded me of evergreen trees).


And while I have used some vibrant colours (that magenta colour terrifies me!);


the predominant colours of green and blue reflect yet again the influence that Nature has in my work.

Even the sentiment gives a nod to Nature:


while my words are intended to inspire me to find my own artistic style and path, the garden metaphor once again reflects the Natural world (FYI, using my own handwriting instead of stamps to write the sentiment was nearly as terrifying as using that magenta colour!!).

So all in all, I'd have to say that this journal page was a success.


It helped me to realize that even when I work way outside of my comfort zone, my style and the things that inspire me are still evident .... and the realization that I even have a style and inspirations was quite the revelation all in itself!  I am so excited to see where the next challenge at Creative Carte Blanche will lead and I hope that perhaps you will join in too and explore along with me.

Thanks for stopping by today and as always, happy creating!

Deb xo

Monday, February 8, 2016

Lavender And Lace

Hello, hope everyone had a great weekend.  I got a wonderful gift in the mail this weekend, I was lucky enough to win some of Wendy Vecchi's new background stamps in a giveaway on her blog and my hubby picked them up from the mailbox on Sunday.


I adore the Ticking stamp (I'm thinking it will make a fabulous plaid background too!) and love all the wonderful sentiments on the Just Say It stamp!  Wendy brilliantly suggested to cut the stamp apart so you end up with multiple sentiment stamps plus those fabulous ....... dividers and hearts, love it!  Thanks so much Wendy, I will put them to very good use very soon!

I worked on some ATC's for another swap at the Mixed Media Studio this weekend, the theme for the ATC's was to be 'Lavender and Lace'.


In thinking about the theme, I decided it was a perfect opportunity to make a masterboard that I could then cut apart and use for the ATC backgrounds.  I have seen many others make their own backgrounds but haven't really attempted it myself (other than doing some Distress ink colouring with some spritz and flick) so decided it was time to dive in and give it a try.

I started out with a piece of heavy weight white card dampened with some water and added  Distress inks in Shaded Lilac and Dusty Concord with a brayer as demonstrated by Tracy Evans in her video here.  I then mixed Ranger texture paste with Seedless Preserves Distress stain and applied it randomly through Tim Holtz's Gothic stencil and applied Wendy Vecchi Crackle Embossing texture paste through Tim's Flourish stencil in other areas.


When the texture pastes had dried, I spritzed the card with Distress Stain sprays in Seedless Preserves and White along with some Heidi Swapp White Color Shine spray and Biscotti Perfect Pearls mist.  I had a few 'empty' spots so did some background stamping with Tim's Ledger Script stamp and brown pigment ink.

Not too bad for a first attempt!  Some areas turned out better than others of course but I love that I ended up with two very different potential backgrounds that were still related to each other.


I cut out two ATC's from the masterboard (2 1/2" x 3 1/2"), edged them with some Chestnut pigment ink and then gave them a top coat of DecoArt Satin varnish just to make sure that the embossing paste wouldn't flake off (as it is wont to do!).


Time to add the embellishments! I fussy cut a lace flower from a scrap of lace in my stash and brushed it with some Tea Dye Distress Ink.


After spritzing it with water, it became the perfect tea stained lace fragment!

I chose a dress form chipboard piece by Maya Road for my next embellishment and coloured it with Shaded Lilac and Dusty Concord Distress inks.


Some fine script stamping was then added in Chestnut pigment ink to tie it in with the stamping on the ATC background.

I really wanted to use this gorgeous etching of a young woman that I got from Dover Publications but didn't want to cover up too much of the ATC background so I decided to print the image out onto some Avery clear cling film that I had in my stash.


Isn't she gorgeous?!

And then I wanted some elements to add to both of the ATC's to further tie them together, so I coloured some white ribbon roses (from Michaels) with Shaded Lilac, Dusty Concord and a touch of Vintage Photo Distress inks, a spritz of water blended the colours together perfectly.


I needed another lace element as well so took a strip of Jambo Lace tape and coloured it with Shaded Lilac and Dusty Concord Distress inks blended with a spritz of water.

And as a final embellishment, I coloured some puffed scrolls and a candelabra from the $1 Store with gold Rub 'n Buff.


Time to assemble, I started with the lighter coloured background which I used to back that lovely etched image.




I added a border of Star Dust stickles around this ATC to finish it off.

The darker Gothic stenciled background was used for the chipboard dress form embellishment.




A border of Recollections Muse glitter glue was used to edge this ATC.

I love how these turned out, making the background and using different sections of it to back my ATC's really tied them together.


Hope my swap partner will like them, they have headed off in the mail today and are going to New York state, hope they make it before the next Nor'Easter hits!

I would like to link my ATC's with the following challenges:

Country View Challenges - February Make Your Own Background

Frilly And Funkie - Enjoy Your Embossing

Thanks as always for stopping by today and hope you have a great week, happy creating!

Deb xo

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Flower Power Altered Bottle

Hello everyone, thanks for stopping by today.  I've been working on altering a bottle for a swap with the Mixed Media Studio and finally got it finished today.  I've been struggling with which direction to take it and finally settled on somewhat of a theme yesterday and got it completed.


I started out with a smaller sized wine bottle and covered it with some Tim Holtz Melange tissue wrap.  Because the bottle was made from dark green glass, I wasn't really happy with the way the Melange tissue was looking so I added a wash of antiquing medium which made it look even worse!  I decided I had to lighten it up and so bit the bullet and added a wash of metallic gold paint.  I say bit the bullet because I am not a gold girl at all!  But things were looking better so I added some Wendy Vecchi texture crackle paste here and there:


and decoupaged some butterflies and pansy flowers for a bit more interest.


Since I'd fallen down the gold rabbit hole already, I added some gold trim around the bottom of the bottle:


and painted a wooden cabinet knob with gold paint and trimmed it with more gold trim for the stopper.


The finial on the top of the stopper was made with a mandala shaped charm, an oblong pearl coloured bead and a 'flowerish' head pin from my stash.


Since I seemed to be heading down a floral strewn path with the head pin and decoupaged pansies, I added a crystal flower to the neck of the bottle:


and added a crystal and chain fringe dangle as a finishing touch.


I hope my swap partner will like it, it's certainly not my 'usual fare' but getting outside of your comfort zone is a good thing to do now and then (or so I've heard!).


Thank you as always for stopping by today and hope that you will have a great weekend.  The sun is shining here and the snow is melting, although it's still February I can see a hint of Spring!  Hope you are getting some sunshine wherever you may be as well and happy creating!

Deb xo