Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Only Small Things - WOYWW #312

Hello Friends :)

I seem to be having this problem in my studio lately. I can only work on small things. Tags, ATC's, cards. I have two canvases that are started but sit unfinished. I am weeks behind on my journal prompts and Lifebook lessons. But, I am just stuck. Whenever I try to work on any of those more weighty projects...I just sit and stare at them blankly... my mind in a completely different place. It is odd and rather worrisome. When will I snap out of it?? Or am I doomed to work smaller and smaller until there is nothing left?
On another strange note..the man ASKED me to make a couple cards! Now I know I am in a different universe. I have been making cards for at least 15 years and he has never asked me for one. Not to say that I have never made a card for him or his family occasions... But..he asked! Not for one card..but for two! Weird....
I am sharing this post with What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday. If you don't know what that is...it is a sneaky peak at desks from all over the world over at Stamping Ground. Check it out :)
So, you have come to my blog expecting a step out of a project...as this is what I always give you. Here are the artist trading cards I did for a summer swap I joined...


This swap has four months with four themes. The first is about your state. That is what these ATC's are about..I think obviously :) Next will be 'your growing zone'. Then  'your favorite Bible verse'. And finally 'half face'  The nice thing about this swap is I can do them all at once and mail them..or parse them out each month. It is a easy going laid back swap :) 

So to start my cards, I cut apart a piece of cardstock that had been Gelli printed at some point. The reason I chose it was the colors. Rusty browns and Turquoise remind me of the state where I live and the southwest in general.  Next I made myself a stencil of mountains and ground using a scrap piece of cardboard and a xacto knife. I used a palette knife and copper crackle paste from Prima to scrape through the stencil creating raised copper mountains on my cards.


Then I added a sun. When you think of the Arizona desert...you can't help but think of our blazing sun! I used a circle stamp and some gold metallic paint from Pebeo. Applying the paint to the stamp using a cosmetic sponge.


Now I needed some more texture and dimension. I made myself some painted papers using my palette knife and some deli paper. (forgot to take a photo here) I used gesso and turquoise metallic Pebeo acrylic on one and brown acrylic and copper Pebeo metallic acrylic on another. Then I tore my paper into strips and applied them to the cards using liquid gloss medium from Liquitex. Some of you may be saying..."but Shel, you always use MATTE medium". This is so true..but if I had used matte then the shimmery-glimmery-ness of the paint and mediums would be dulled down. "Ah ha" you say :) I trimmed the excess and then mounted my cards onto shiny copper cardstock.


Next I needed the iconic plant that is everywhere where I live,,,the Saguaro. I love these majestic cactus soaring over me and standing tall like soldiers all over the hills. I used some Magicals powders from Lindy's Stamp Gang on some text paper but decided it was too dark. So I scraped some Pebeo metallic green acrylic over it. Then I made a stencil with some scrap cardboard and cut out my saguaros. I put them on my cards using liquid gloss medium. 


To add some detail to my little scene. I used a white Posca pen on my cactus and a Gold Sharpie poster paint pen on my sun.


Now for the backs of the cards. I used my computer and Microsoft publisher to make the shape of Arizona. Then I typed a few facts over the top of the state shapes. I cut these into the right size and glued them onto the backs of the cards.


But then, I decided they were too darn white! White..ewwwwww! So I picked three colors of distress ink pads and smooshed them onto my craft mat. Then I spritzed it with water and then swooshed my cards through the ink. Smooshed and swooshed....Much better! 



Oh, and for those who wondered about the cards I made for the man. He needed a 59th anniversary card for his parents and a graduation card for the child of his best friend. I decided to make pop up box cards. I have seen a lot of these but never made one before. It was fun! I ended up making one for my cousin for graduation as well. Then I modified the size to fit into a A2 envelope and made a baby one for a special Grandma who's daughter has just had twins! And a extra one for a birthday or something someone might have :) I used this tutorial SplitCoastStampers Pop Up Box Card. I thought I was soooo clever figuring out how to modify the size to fit into a standard A2 envelope. Then realised..there is the sizes for that in small print at the very bottom of this tutorial...sigh.


I hope you have enjoyed my post :) I would love to read your comments!
<3Shel

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Tag It Tuesday - May Flowers

Hello Friends :)

Today is the Tag It Tuesday linky party over at Cards and More by Sheri blog.. This is a fun day for linking up your altered tags to her blog for sharing with everyone :) I hope you have made a altered tag and are ready to play along with us! Here is my official May tag in the theme of 'flowers'. Some of your may have seen the other flowery tag I made on this post . I couldn't decide which should be the 'official' one so I posted them both :)


To start out my tag I cut a 3" X 7" piece of manila stock out of an old manila folder. You could use a #10 size shipping tag...I am just reusing something I already have. I collaged the piece using some tissue paper printed with music and text. I also added a couple strips of washi tape I pulled off of packaging people have sent me. I can't bear to waste pretty stuff...and because washi tape is so low tack..it comes off easily. I used matte medium to glue everything down and seal it. Note: even when washi tape is new..its a good idea to seal it with matte medium or the like because it IS so low tack :P


Next, I rolled over my tag using some gesso and a 2"brayer to mellow out the black a bit.


Now I sketched on some sunflower shapes using a graphite pencil.


I wanted to protect the text looking areas of the insides of the shapes..so I painted over it with some 3D gloss gel to make those areas resist color I applied later. Then I dried it..and went for the magical resist action with some Dylusions ink sprays. Wait....IT DIDN'T WORK. Sigh...I guess I didn't think about the fact that I had covered the whole tag already with matte gel medium...which also resists..so now the whole ground is equal. Oh well..mistakes just mean you change your plan and move on!


So next I painted the negative space using my watercolor tray from Japan :) I tried for a ombre' look..red to orange. Then I brayered some clear gesso over this layer to keep the colors intact when I use more wet media over the top


Now to paint in the leaves and centers of the flowers using more watercolor and a small brush.


Once that layer was all dry, I went around my flowers and leaves using a brown Posca paint pen. That seemed pretty dull...so I went around again with a white. Much better.At this point I set this tag aside and went back to working on the other one. 


When I picked the tag back up later it seemed BORING. What it needed was a girl on it. You know the saying from the show Portlandia 'put a bird on it'...well I say 'put a girl on it' :) So I took a scrap of the manila stock that happened to have a folded edge already and made a sketch of a girl and some stems. I cut it out and them made some flowers and leaves to glue on the stems.


Then I painted the girl and her flowers using my trusty Japanese watercolors. I used Posca paint pens in various colors to draw around her.  I had to use a .005 micron pen for her face because it was sooo small. 


Now I needed something to say on my tag. I printed up some sage words on my printer and cut them out. Then I attached them to the back of the girl (oh I decorated it with some stamps first) and on to the tag using matte gel medium. I went around the 'like a flower' part with a stabilo black pencil and blended it with some water.


To finish up my tag I mounted it on dark green cardstock and added some ribbon and fibers to the top.


I hope you enjoyed my tag and will play along with Tag It Tuesday :) I would love to see what flowery things YOU come up with!
<3 Shel




Friday, May 15, 2015

Iris Flower Altered Tag

Hello Friends :)

I was having so much fun making my tag for Tag It Tuesday over at Cards and More by Sheri that I ended up making two. I can't pick between them so I decided to share one today and the other for the linky party next Tuesday. I encourage you all to play along! All you have to do is make a altered tag and then post it on the Internet so you can link it to Sheri's page next week :) The theme for this month is 'Flowers' so anyone can figure out something to do with that! So, on to my first flowery tag. Be sure to come back next Tuesday, May 19 2015 to see my other flowery tag :)


For this tag I started with a piece of manila stock cut to 3" X 7". Of course most would just use a #10 shipping tag since you can get a box of 100 for around $7.00... but I have a stack of old manila folders so I just cut those up :) I cut the corners and punch a hold to make it a 'tag'.  I sketched a iris flower on the tag using a graphite pencil..


Next, I painted the negative space with a yellow watercolor from my set of Japanese watercolors. I am loving these and using them a lot. They have an almost acrylic finish feeling..but are still a watercolor. Very thick and intense color! They were a gift from my best friend :) If you are curious about them...here they are on Amazon where she purchased them. HERE (no affiliation to any product)


Next I wanted to create a resist using some 3D Gloss Gel,  so I applied it using a circles stencil from Mr Huey. Once it is dry it will be completely clear and should show the yellow through. So..I sat it aside and...waited. (Ok, I started the other tag you will see next Tuesday :)


Next I wanted to try out my resist using some Dylusions ink sprays. I used sunshine, tangerine, funky fuchsia and dirty martini. I let it drip around a bit and even added a spritz of water. (It did not really resist as I had expected.. but the effect was still cool. Maybe it was not completely dry..I will have to try it again)


To soak up the excess ink, I placed another tag over it..then rolled over it with some paper towel. Then I heated it dry and went over it with some clear gesso and a brayer to seal in the layer. I am telling you..clear gesso is my new favoritest thing ever!


Now to make the flower stand out from my color splased background. I decided to use acrylic paint for this with a small brush. A combo of bright green, dark green, and white for the leaves and stems.

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And dark purple mixed with white and black for hightlights and shadows, and a little yellow.


Once all the paint was dry, I went around the edges using a White Posca paint pen.


I had added a couple stripes of some gold dotted washi tape I was recycling from a swap...and I decided maybe more gold dots were needed. So I got out some Pebeo metallic gold paint and put it on some of the raised dots where the 3D gloss gel had dried. Then, I used a brush with water and the rest of the gold paint to make splatters of gold over the tag.


To finish up..I needed a word or sentiment so I chose 'BLOOM" which I stamped and embossed with gold powder on a piece of dark purple cardstock. I attached it using a tiny attacher staple.


Finally, I layered the whole tag onto some dark purple cardstock trimmed to fit. I created a smaller accent tag using some of the blotted off card and more purple cardstock. Then I strung on some ribbons and metallic cord.


I hope you enjoyed my tag :) Comments are very appreciated!
<3 Shel


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

New Stuff and Old Technique - WOYWW #310

Hello Friends and Desk Snoopers :)

It is Wednesday again...and it seems to be the only day I can actually get a post written (unless it is my turn for Design Team) I attribute this to the marvelous Julia Dunnit and her desk hopping link party. Click HERE to check out desks across the world! So today I am not going to show you my desk since its cleaned off and boring now. But I will show you what I was doing that made it so crazy I felt I had to clean it:)

It all started with this... a new Sakura Watercolor Field Sketchbox. (not advertising..just being helpful) I bought this from Amazon with some money I got from selling a painting. I wanted to try it out as soon as the box got here! Of course I had to be a tiny bit patient until I had time on Tuesday :)

First I made a color chart so I could see what I had for colors. Then I started making a few backgrounds on some 140 pd watercolor paper cut into 5" X 3 3/4" pieces. I made a very wet paper and used a wet brush to apply a couple colors and let them blend a bit.


Well, that was fun and I ended up making 5 of them before I stopped myself. You see I have this problem of needing to FINISH a thing...and I didn't want a bunch of random pieces laying about the studio (not saying there are not A LOT of random piece laying about!)


So, I let them dry and decided to make them into card layer using a technique I learned ages ago..but maybe you haven't seen yet. It is simple but really cool. All you need is a piece of acetate or cardstock with different sized holes punched in it...and some white ink or gesso. Oh, and a sponge to stencil with.


With the watercolored paper completely dry,... start with the biggest circle and sponge the white lightly through it. Repeat to make an odd number. Move to the next size down circle and over lap the other circles making the color slightly more concentrated. Then the next size down and so on. For my smallest ones I just used a sponge dauber and pressed down hard. You can do this technique with squares, starts, hearts, anything as long as you have graduated sizes. It is a pretty cool background!


So I went through 3 of the pieces using the white...then got bored. My next one was using blue for the 2 larger circles and then a metallic copper for the smaller ones. Then I did one with bright green for the larger and bright blue for the smaller.


Now the reason I really wanted to make cards and not something else with my pieces of watercolored and sponged backgrounds is because I got a NEW stamp set and the matching dies! Spending more of the money I earned selling my art :) The stamps and dies are from a company called W plus 9, but I bought them from my friend Heather at the Kraaft Shaak Shop. (Here is the link if you are interested)
So here are my cards all made with the same set and dies called 'Dream Weaver'.









And here are a couple others I made with the same set and dies :)


I hope you had fun perusing my post. If you did..give me a comment below :)
<3 Shel


Saturday, May 9, 2015

Spark Some Creativity Saturday! - My New Summer Slides :)

Hello Friends <3 
It is time again for Spark Some Creativity Saturday with the Kraaft Shaak Design Team! This month we were challenged to make something WEARABLE, incorporating items from our Kraaft Shaak Mixed Media Kits. Well, Summer is coming fast and the heat is on here in Arizona, so I thought what about some beautiful mixed media shoes? So, yeah...I DID THAT :)


The process to makes these gorgeous slide shoes was step intensive...so therefore very photo intensive...so I broke up the photos trying to make the steps more clear and easy to follow.

I knew I had a lot of great printed papers left in my Kraaft Shaak Mixed Media Kit. It came with a TON of cool book pages and maps and almanac pages.  So, I decided to make paper flower decorations for my fancy shoes. The idea came from reading this post from my friend Sheri at Cards and More by Sheri :) The flowers were a blast to make! I used various papers from the kit and some Magicals Powders made by Lindy's Stamp Gang. I am grateful for Kraaft Shaak for introducing me to these crazy fun powders. They are truly 'magical' and if you have never used them..you should give them a try! I used 'Pop Rock Purple' and 'Sweet Violet Purple Teal' for my flowers. Then because I think purple and copper look great together...I used some of the Copper Crackle Paste I got in my kit on the edges of my flowers...just using it as a metallic paint. I tried different types of mediums to seal my flowers (3D Gloss Gel, Mod Podge, Liquitex Gloss Medium) but they all saturated the paper too much and made the flowers flatten out..so I ended up using a few coats of spray acrylic sealer. Be sure to do this OUTSIDE..it is stinky!


Of course if you have flowers, you need some leaves. So I used some of the scraps left over from cutting out the scalloped rounds for my flowers to make some. I used a Stampin' Up! leaf stamp and Archival Black ink. Then colored them using' Lucky Shamrock Green' Magicals power. I coared them in some 3D Matte Gel to give them a good seal and extra body.


Now on to the next step..Figuring out how to change the cheap flip flops I bought for this project into something COOL. First off..I hate the feeling of that thong thing in the middle of my toes on flip flops... So I decided to cut that thing off and make slides instead.  I also hate how plastic and sweaty flip flops feel...so I knew I wanted to use fabric. I got some inexpensive heavy canvas from Hancock Fabric store to make soles to put over the rubber soles of the flip flops. I also figured these canvas soles would hold on the upper parts of the shoe on. The part I planned to decorate with my flowers. So with some trial and error...I figured out how to make cool mixed media canvas soles!


Now for the upper parts of the shoe. I was first planning to use the same canvas material... but I ran out of it messing around and making mistakes on the soles :) I also thought it might be a good idea to have something more stretchy and 'giving' for the uppers. so I went back to the Hancock's and got a 1/8 yard of black denim that had some stretch. Also, I discovered that having the top material a bit stretchy made it a lot easier to sew onto the canvas sole. Why black? I wanted a base so that my flowers would really stand out. The painted canvas was too 'matchy matchy' with the flowers. Of course I can't go completely cold turkey on the fabric painting..so I added some pattern with Copper Crackle Paste and the Finnabair Dot Grunge Stamp that came in my Kraaft Shaak Mixed Media Kit. Remember to heat set everything using a hot iron and placing your painted thing in between two pieces of waxed paper to protect your iron!



Now for the finishing touches. I had two really cool metal leaf charms that came as a gift from Heather with my kit, so I put those on first. I was wishing I had more of them! Then I added my flowers and leaves using fabric glue. For a final piece of blingy dewey looking spots  I used the sequins that came in my Kraaft Shaak Mixed Media Kit. Then...came the drying before I could try them on! UGH!


Once I had my fancy schmancy shoes done...I still had some flowers and leaves left over so guess what???? I MADE A SUN HAT :)


I hope you all made it to the end of this post and that everything I did was clear. If not, be sure to ask questions in the comments below. I promise I will answer!
<3 Shel