Design team member of Alpha Stamps, moderator at Craftster, lover of ephemera and junk.

Welcome! Grab a cold one, kick off your shoes, and have a look around.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Night Witch

It's never too early for Halloween, and who better to announce its imminent arrival than the Night Witch? I was inspired by this cobweb chipboard insert and a lovely deep blue sky scrapbook paper to make (yet another) altered Altoids tin. Plus, I can't get enough of those tiny stars that I used in my "Lucky Stars" shrine last month, so they also play a starring role. (See what I did there?)

I painted the spider web insert to match the background paper. Normally, I would insert it behind the rolled lip of the tin, but on this project, I liked it sitting on top. While I had my colors mixed, I also painted the wooden stand, and then distressed it with some ink to darken it up a bit. The bat is a plastic cupcake pick with the "pick" part cut off. He's attached to the top of the tin with a little Apoxie Sculpt. I used a toothpick and some red paint to give him some glowing eyes.

I altered the witch image a bit: the hat was given a stripey band and a gold star, and outlined slightly with a gold Sharpie to make it stand out from the background. Then, to make the image more dimensional, I cut out the witch's arms and the cat from a second, identical image. I attached her left arm flush at the shoulder, and used a foam glue dot to elevate the cat and her right arm. The cat's eyes are highlighted with a little green paint and a dot of ink for pupils.

Here's a shot of the back. I'm sure you can see why I love that rich blue paper so much! The star medallion on the foot not only ties in with the rest of the gold in the stars above, but makes the stand super sturdy.

Happy haunting! For a list of supplies I used on this project, click here.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Flashback: Fairy Godmother

I did this several years ago for a swap on I found the most perfect photo of a fairy godmother (look at her! I'm sure that's who she was!) in an antique mall, and crowned her with a cigar band crown. She proclaims, as any good godmother would: "Anything you wish, sweetie!"

This art is mounted on a 4" by 4" board. There are lots of advantages to being married to a woodworker: I get all the scraps!

I hope this godmother has performed her duties well in her new home.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Flashback: Mother's Little Helper Tin

The world (especially now) can be a crazy place. Here's a little tin I made a few years back, to hold "Mother's Little Helpers". Can't everyone use one of these? Perfect for mints, or whatever your "little helper" happens to be.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Flashback: Fairy Tale Tin

Since Photobucket is now charging for what used to be their free photo hosting, many of my old photos posted here and to are now not showing up. I have been going through my Photobucket account and downloading as many photos as possible to restore the photos to both sites. Meanwhile, I've found lots of work that was done before I started this blog in 2011, so I thought I'd post some of those things here.

This one is an Altoids tin with a fairytale theme. I'll sprinkle more oldies but goodies in as I find them.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Lucky Stars

Did you ever wish upon a star, or thank your lucky stars? Well, then you're going to want to meet this little pixie, who sits up near the moon and collects those stars, making them available to those of us who need them. I made this tiny shadowbox using a Matchbox Cabinet from Alpha Stamps. Here's the little pixie, perched on a shelf, removing stars from the sky. He'll fill that bottle and store it below with previously harvested stars.

In the photo below, you can see that the frame and the moon cutout in the top half of the shadowbox are raised to give the sky dimension. The bottom frame is flush to the back to provide more room for the tiny cigar box and jars of stars. The half circle on top of the shadowbox is an old wooden wheel from a set of block, cut in half.

That's a big jar for a pixie to fill! Luckily, there are plenty of stars in the sky.

Here are a few details. There's already one star in the jar, and our little friend is getting ready to add another.

And here's his collection: some wishing stars, one very special lucky star, and a bottle of dreams with a star stopper. There's also a box of large stars for those who need them most.

The jars and box are very tiny!

A few notes on construction: here's the tiny box before assembly. I found it easiest to cover the pieces with paper before gluing them together. It might be easier yet to assemble and then paint. Using a lightweight paper really helps, because those pieces are really, really small, and folding a heavy paper over the edges would be difficult.

Here you see the box with only one side and the bottom attached. The upper frame is elevated from the back of the box using two adhesive foam squares to raise the frame. The moon was attached with one foam square.

A hanger for the back, and a photo of how the top star is adhered. Because that star is actually a bead, there's a hole through the middle. I adhered a long head pin to the back of the wooden piece, and bent it up and over. I dropped the star down onto the pin, and put a little dab of glue on the two points of the star that sit on the block. Now it's nice and secure.

Keep reaching for the stars. For a complete list of supplies, click here!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Mermaid Garden

We're having some fun with mermaid paper dolls over at Alpha Stamps this month! There are all kinds of fishy things to play with: from articulated chipboard mermaids, to a collage sheet of heads that perfectly fit those dolls, to sparkly sequined seashells. I made a fancy little mermaid and decided to create an undersea garden in which she could live. Here's an extra large photo of her home. I'll break some of the details down in smaller photos below. Doesn't that blue scalloped at the bottom of the shrine look 3D? It's actually an image from the mermaid head collage sheet!

There's a lot going on in this garden: whispy fronds of seaweed, bright red corral, crashing waves, and a sassy mermaid who has crowned herself with sparkly seashells. The paper doll mermaid is supported in the middle of the shrine with a bamboo skewer, which is inserted into a bead glued to the floor of the box. The skewer is painted the same blue that was used to paint her tail fins, and partially hidden behind some coral. A fish placed in front of the skewer also helps to hide it. To stabilize the figure, the elbow of her raised hand is attached to the side of the box with a little dab of white glue.

The back of the box features a scene from the Sea Green Mermaids collage sheet. I couldn't resist adding a few more swimming fish, which are attached with dimensional foam glue dots to give the scene some depth. A rusty bottlecap and two fancy fish decorate the top portion of the shrine. To pull a little more red up to that area, a Copic marker was used to give those fish red eyes.

The Arched Shrine shadowbox is nice and deep; you can see in this photo how I curled and inserted the two sets of waves. They almost stayed in place by themselves, but just to be sure, I ran a small bead of white glue along the bottom edge of each of them. You can see how busy that right side is; the better to hide that stick! Isn't the mermaid's pearl necklace lovely? Those pearls serve to hide the edge of her paper neck where it meets her body.

Here's the back. I kept it simple.

And one more photo for the road. I hope you enjoyed the Mermaid's Garden. For a list of supplies, click here.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Little Garden Book

I enjoyed using the Alpha Stamps Hidden Drawer Book Box in my The Little Book of Men
project so much that I asked Leslie (Queen of AS) if I could have another one just for fun.  I got a brightly colored paper pack and was inspired to do a Spring Garden theme. An image from the Women and Flowers collage sheet was the perfect size and had all the right colors for the cover of the book.

I love how this "woodgrained" paper looks almost like book pages. Here's the spine and top of the book:

The Little Book of Perfect Men held ATC cards, but this book has a secret that's a bit more fun: a tiny garden and a tiny gardener, plus a pretty songbird and a sweet little bunny.

I used some Leafy Green Underbrush for a grassy lawn, and a stick from my yard for a tree. Some tiny leaves from some Miniature Coiled Leaf Stems were glued onto the branch with a little dab of hot glue. The bunting and the birdhouse were cut from the paper that was featured on the sides of the secret drawer, and the pennants in the bunting were attached to the back with dimensional glue dots to give them some depth.

I thought this would be a great playset, so the rabbit and the peg doll are removable.
Now you can take a little garden with you wherever you go! For a complete list of supplies, click here.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Fun Time, a Framed Shadowbox

This month at Alpha Stamps, we were encouraged to do some art representing our passion, our craft room, or something we collected. I'm not much of a collector, but I do love toys, especially vintage toys. When I mentioned that to Leslie (Queen of Alpha Stamps), she said she would make a collage sheet with some of my favorite toys on it if I'd supply her with photos. Heck yeah! Bonus, she ended up making two collage sheets: one, some general toys, and two: circus themed toys. She even added a few fun toys that I now wish I owned, like the Happy Hooligan tin toy, which you can see in oval frame in the upper right corner of the photo below. Here's what I made with those collage sheets, plus some fun dollhouse sized frames and a wooden crate. I like to think the little boy below is visiting a toy museum, filled with toys I love. These toys are so fun, they are practically bursting out of their frames!

The small frame shadowbox is just deep enough host a few real toys in front of the wall of art.

Here's the back of the Fun Time museum. With the shadowbox alone, the frame will stand on its own, but it will lean a bit. I wanted this piece to sit flat, so I added a wooden block to prop it up. Works like a charm!

I liked the way the shadowbox fit exactly inside frame if you decide not to forego using the glass. Included in the kit is an extra piece of cardboard that the tabs on the sides of the box fit into. That's great to use if you want to use the glass on your work, but I chose to not use it in this piece. I used an exacto knife to cut off the tabs on the front of the box so it fit more snugly. It would have been better if I removed those tabs before I had partially glued the box, but hey, live and learn.

Here's a closeup of the inside of the shadowbox so you can see the toys better. The black plastic alien and the rubber duck are tiny, and just fit into the miniature fruit crate. The dog is an old Cracker Jack toy, and the train came from Alpha Stamps. The toy metal phone in the bottom frame is one of my favorite toys. It sits on the table next to my sofa, so I can make and receive important imaginary calls.
I hope you enjoyed the Fun Time museum. For a complete list of supplies, click here.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

"Don't Forget" Altered Tin

I got some new Tim Holtz paper doll cutouts, and thought it would be fun to decorate an Altoids tin. These sisters were just perfect for the front of the tin, and I gave them a little dog, because he's just too cute.

I used a red colored pencil to outline the figures, and after inking the edges, dotted the border with white paint.

A little bit of lace and a vintage button around the sides, and I have a tin to hold things I don't want to forget. A key? Some tiny treasures? A lucky penny? Who knows; I'll think of something!

Saturday, April 1, 2017

The Little Book of Perfect Men

Ever wish you had the perfect man? What would he be like? Perhaps a little like the perfect men in this perfect little book! This month, Alpha Stamps is featuring men- wonderful images from the 50's and 60's. They're perfectly sized for ATCs, and the ATC sized Hidden Drawer Book Box is the perfect place in which to store those cards portraying that perfect guy.

I was lucky enough to find the perfect scrapbook paper for the pages of the book. It almost looks real. I used stripey scrapbook paper for the front and back cover of the book. The inside of the cover and the secret drawer of the box are painted with paint I mixed to match the color of the stripes, and then  ink from an almost-dried up ink pad was applied with a stiff brush to get the distressed look. 

Here you can see the secret drawer, opened and filled with ATCs. The red ribbon is attached to the bottom of the box, which makes it easier to remove the cards.

To access the cards, just lift up on that ribbon and they pop right out.

You can see here how the ribbon is attached at one end of the box, and then is threaded up to the top so that the cards lie on top of it.

Lots of these guys look like they might enjoy a nice smoke, so I colored a pipe from the Dapper Gents shape set and glued it to the back of the tab.

I used precut Chipboard ATCs to make the cards sturdy. They were on the large side of 2 1/2" by 3 1/2" and fit too tightly, so I trimmed about 1/16" off of two sides. They're still the correct size; they just hit on the left side of the ruler line. I also used a punch to round the edges. I found it difficult to punch the corners when the scrapbook paper was already on the blank, so I punched out the blank, adhered the paper, and then punched the corners again. Easy peasy!

I had so much fun going through my collage sheets finding perfect men and imagining what sort of things they might say. Here are all my perfect guys together. #1 is the ultimate perfect guy for me; that's actually my husband there, saying "Here, let me bring you a drink." No, that's not his real hat: it's from the 50's Floating Heads collage sheet.

The little book comes flat in pieces, but it's very easy to put together. Using the photo below, #1 is the front cover, and #3 the back. There are three pieces that fit in the slots on the back to form the pages of the book. #4 shows the tray of the drawer, and #2 is the spine of the book. It is glued to the long edge of the inside of the drawer. I used Aleene's Tacky glue to adhere all the pieces and they are nice and sturdy.

To make sure the spine of the book was in the right place in relation to the covers, I put the already painted drawer into the constructed book, and then added glue. I did not paint the sides that will be adhered together, thinking that might help with the bond. 

Once the spine was lined up correctly, I gently removed the tray with the spine attached and used clothespins to hold the spine in place until the glue set.

Little tip for doing a collage: I used three different images of men for the front cover of the book. To get an arrangement I liked, I cut out several images and played with them until I got something I liked. I took several photos during this process. Here is the "almost right, but still not quite" photo. Ack, too many men! Once I decided to keep it to three, things looked better. Having reference photos of your work in progress is great in case you decide to go back to a previous look. Once I settled on the three men for the front cover, I used tracing paper to trace the men in position. This made it easier to glue them on exactly where I wanted them.

And here they are, my perfect men. I will say, they are certainly a handful!

For a complete list of supplies, click here.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Arches of Mardi Gras

Did you ever just get a weird idea and decide to run with it? Here's what happened to me when I got the March kit from Alpha Stamps. I fell in love with the color of the G45 papers and the images on the Costumes collage sheet. The arches seemed like the perfect place to host a costume ball, and what do you know? A slew of Mardi Gras babies decided to crash the party!

On the left is a dashing gentleman, a self-described "dreamer". He's offering a flower to the girl of his dreams, but which one is the lucky lady? It's impossible to tell. This fellow's fancy costume was a little clashy with the background, so I used some Copic markers to make the green and red colors of his outfit lean more towards orange and turquoise. After all, clashing with the decor is so uncouth! 

Copic markers helped out the masked woman's costume as well. The poster on the wall was cut from the scrapbook paper. It perfectly set the mood of the party. The "floor" of each panel is a contrasting paper, simply torn so the white edges show. Isn't this woman so fancy with her bronze fan? The ribbons are a couple of strands of embroidery floss.

Here's the lady on the right. Is she going to be the lucky one who receives that flower? Obviously she feels worthy, carrying around that "beautiful" sign. I have to admit that she does look lovely in her harlequin dress. No Copics were needed for this outfit; the colors in her frock were already perfect.

The panels are hinged on the back with strips of coordinating paper with rounded edges. Nothing fancy; I just freehanded the cuts. Let's talk about those babies, though. I guess they caught wind of the planned festivities and just had to join in. I'm kind of fond of this back view, where you can see them all scaling the wall. Cute, or something from a horror flick? Probably leaning towards more horror, especially considering that the baby on the far right of each panel had to suffer a bit of an amputation to get its legs to fit. I nipped a bit off of their left legs with a wire clipper. I can't say I feel good about that, but art requires sacrifice, yes? The climbing babies are each attached with a dab of hot glue.

I got those little naked babies at a party store. For a complete list of all the other supplies, click here.
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