Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Odd Little Ghoul and Charming Jack

I have this bin that lives under my craft table. There's actually several bins under there, but this particular one is where I toss all of my reject projects. Things that have been started but looked odd, or I wasn't happy with the way it was going, or lost the motivation to finish, stuff like that. While rifling through the bin looking for something else, I uncovered a sad little guy that needed a paint job and some eyeballs. He also got a stand and is now hanging out on the book case.

Also in the Bin of Doomed Things was an unpainted paperclay pumpkin head and a separate wire armature body with a polka dotted costume. I don't know why I tossed him in there since he was so close to being a completed project. The head was painted and he got a paper stem and wire vine, and then his noggin was glued onto the body. I tied raffia to his hands and feet and painted a little sign for him to hold, and that was it. 

One of my kids suggested painting his nose like a piece of candy corn (so I did) and another kid told me his name is Charming Jack (and so it is). 

Wonder what else is hiding in that bin?

Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Charnel House

Hallowe'en is fast approaching, so you know what that means...lots of new creepy, ghoulish, and sinister products from Alpha Stamps for you to get your claws on! There's a miniature electric chair, or "Old Sparky" as it's listed, and I am just dying to get one! As electrifying as that is, there's also three exclusive chipboard tomb shapes to paint, paper, stamp, and decorate 'til your bloody heart's content. 

The three tombs became the base for "The Charnel House", a mixed media book that's bubbling over with graveyard evil, or at least some cringe-worthy images. I started by papering both sides of the chipboard tombs and then built up the pages with a combination of collage sheet images, die-cut chipboard pieces, charms, watercolor pencils, stamps, Dresden trim, markers, paint, and ink. 

The columns on the cover were daubed with Black Soot Distress Stain, stamped with a spooktacular stamp, colored on with a white watercolor pencil, then brushed over with Inka Gold Metallic Rub. I used the same technique for all of the chipboard pieces, and some pieces also received a spritzing of Lindy's Stamp Gang Spray for a little added shimmer.

I frankensteined this mischievous monster from the Little Imps and Victorian Bats collage sheets then gave him a myriad of skulls to play with. The headstone is the insert from the Gothic Arch Tomb and gave the page needed depth. Bat Boy's wings are lifted off the page, as if he could take flight at any moment, but it looks like he doesn't give a hoot about the sign and is spitefully planted. Don't be afraid to abuse your art- I sanded the devil out of this page and along all of the edges. 

I used two columns and the larger overlay of the Round Roman Pediment Tomb to add dimension, and the skeletal hand was cut out and creased, ready to seize an unsuspecting visitor! Lots of colored pencil on this page, as well as mossy green ink that was applied with a makeup sponge, wadded tissue paper here and there, an unnerving spider in her web, and a splattering of blood. The spider is a charm that I snapped the ring off of, then colored it with Sharpie. 

I love those hands so much I had to use the other. The remaining overlay from the tomb was also stained, scribbled on, and stamped as the other pieces, and again I used the same stamp along the top of the page. There's more watercolor pencil, a strip of Dresden trim, and sponged on Distress Ink. 

These tiny ghouls are ready for some devilment, don't you think? They are a little more frightening with stringy hair and bloodshot eyes, made from a bit of fiber and shimmering red Stickles. Again I chopped off parts of some collage images and added others; so many parts, so little time (before Hallowe'en is here)!

This page was a scream to decorate because I found the chipboard spider lock fit perfectly in the window. I also had a sheet of mica that was the exact size to add in the doorway, over Nosferatu's bootiful kisser. Mystery Lady in an Urn is mounted on pop dots so she protrudes from the page, and the spiderweb gate was bent open. It still needed something, so I strung wisps of cobwebs (made from the same fiber as the skeleton kids' hair), and glued a bit of painted cheesecloth around the spider window. (hehe, I typed "spider winder". How Southern of me.)

The back of the book appropriately depicts a graveyard scene that was torn around the edges and inked, and one REALLY CHILLING TREE! This chipboard piece is so cool, and is very similar to some trees I find in a local cemetery. I had to add piles of Spanish moss though, because I am accustomed to all my trees being covered in the stuff. The reanimated skeleton has a pop dot on the back of his head, and he appears to be giving the raven a bone rattling for snatching his rose.

Here's the spine chilling...well, uh...spine. It is a strip of heavy black cardstock that has been accordion folded to accommodate the thickness of the pages and strands of grisly yarns. Actually, the yarns are quite nice, but "grisly" continues the inexhaustible theme here. It's a theme that you just can't kill. (I hear your moans and groans, btw.) I tied a key charm, an eye cabochon, and a skull to the strands, along with two random beads I had laying around. 

If you haven't yet hung yourself because of the terrible puns, and are still hanging in there, then thanks for taking a peek at The Charnel House! You can scurry on over to this page to see my supply list, and I hope your Hallowe'en crafting leaves people quaking in their boots!

Sunday, September 4, 2016


August is the busiest month for me every year. Mostly because I am making school preparations for the smallish people's upcoming year, but also because I am trying to cram in as much art as possible before returning to our homeschooling routine. September is here and we're in our groove now, which means a little time to breathe and post some stuff.

Most of the month was dedicated to this lovely lady, a vintage cowgirl that I embroidered for a special friend on Craftster.

She's embroidered in one and two strands of floss and the finished size is 8". I should have considered the size beforehand because it would be nicer if it fit in a smaller hoop, but alas! forethought and me are not such good friends. 

Made some ATCs. Acrylic paint on cardboard of Todd McFarlane's Spawn, issue 1.

photo: Krafty_Karasu

Pointillism ATC of our kitty, Chaircat Mao, dressed in a shirt and bow tie. Poor cat.

Making crocheted blocks for a Frida's Flowers blanket CAL on Craftster...it's slow progress. 

Destashed the mound of hoarded shirts by sewing a quilt for my son. 

Took a stroll through Bonaventure Cemetery and snapped loads of pictures.

Went to one of the hubs's shows. Just to be clear, I have one husband that played more than one show.

Took a random pic of Barbies in a bin. Zero effort there.

Now to clean up the craft table so I can go make a different mess with Alpha Stamps stuff. 

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Snake Oil Caravan

How cool is this little caravan and suitcase? The wagon is actually Alpha Stamp's vintage bathing machine, but I think it worked out well for a traveling snake oil salesman and his wares. It's covered entirely with just two papers: the new Good For What Ails You collage sheet and the Wood Flooring Scrapbook paper. Having the digital download enabled me to crop and copy the parts needed, like the red stripes on the side with the door. 

The suitcase is a mere 2" x 1.5" but holds a whole slew of items. I managed to squash in 14 bottles of various tonics, restoratives, strengtheners, liveners, and an ointment! Tucked behind the snake oils in the lid are adverts and such from various collage sheets.

Ocean Weed, hehe

Four of the bottles are housed in tiny boxes I made using the "free building material" from Alpha Stamps. Collage sheets are always mailed with a rigid sheet of card that can be used to construct boxes, shelving, supports, it can be cut and stacked and then used behind fussy cut images to create dimension, or use it as a cutting mat to protect surfaces or a painting mat for the same purpose. I've built shrines, tables, and picture frames with it!

A wooden fruit crate served as an appropriate stand for the case of medicines. I painted the crate with brown and black acrylic paints then sanded the edges for a perfectly worn look. Guess what the sandwich board is made from! Yep, that same free piece of card I mentioned earlier. A little hinge was glued to the pieces and a collage sheet image was stuck on the board.

I decided I didn't want all of the space inside to go to waste, so I hinged the door and lined the wall with shelving to hold additional stock.

And if ever you find the need to hinge a door or whatever, but do not have a hinge, here is a basic way to cheat. It is simply two invisible pins placed in the top and bottom of the door.

Firstly, you need to sand your door on all edges, especially if your door fits flush inside a frame as mine did. On the left hand side of my door, where I hinged it, I also sanded the front edge in a curved fashion. This allows the door to open and not get caught on the door frame. Next, you get to take some sort of implement like a tapestry needle (or in my case a Dremel with a skinny bit) and poke/drill a hole near the edge on the top of the door. You can sort of see where the front edge of the door is sanded at an angle. The sanding is crucial to achieve an opening door; you may have to disassemble, sand, reassemble, and try opening the door several times before it operates smoothly.

After you have a hole in the top of your door, you need to do the same thing in the door frame. Now, I am not one for measuring anything, and if I can avoid it, I do. So to determine where I needed to place the hole in the frame, I stuck a snipped piece of wire into the hole in the door, dipped the other end of the wire in paint, and then placed the door in the frame, scootching the door up until the painted wire touched the frame. That left a nicely placed little dot to drill the other hole. After drilling the hole in the frame, I glued in the clipped piece of wire. This is the top pin that will hold your door.

While the glue is drying your pin in place, you now need to drill the hole in the base of your structure. I did this before the caravan was glued together, which makes it loads easier to do. I set the frame (which is also the wall of the caravan) into the floor and made a small mark on the floor the near the left edge of the frame. Again, I didn't measure to see if the mark was exactly the same distance from the left edge as the upper hole, but if you've sanded your door enough, it won't matter. Then I drilled through the hole, and here you can see a useless picture of that hole.

And now you replace the door and do the same thing as before, using a piece of wire dipped in paint, then stuck through your newly made hole, leaving a mark on the bottom of your door. Disassemble the entire thing AGAIN, drill a small hole at the mark on the door, then reassemble (and finally glue!) your structure together. Clip off a small piece of wire and bend the end, then stick it through the hole. Glue or tape the wire at the bend only, and you should have a functioning door! An alternative, which I have used successfully in the past, is to use a trimmed stick pin. The pointed end holds it in place and doesn't usually require gluing. 

Of course you can just use a hinge. 

If you are curious about what I've used, you can see the supply list HERE.

Happy crafting!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Tiki Beach Bar

Alpha Stamps is hanging out at the beach this month! You'll find cabana houses, vintage beach babes, palm trees, and even mini cocktails for any seaside project. I was pretty enthusiastic about a tiki bar when I saw the miniature martini glasses and tumblers, so that is what I made. 

I converted the little Half Scale Bay Window that Alpha Stamps carries into a little bar by cutting off the front two supports and replacing them with bamboo poles. The bar top is a piece of heavyweight card that I cut to extend past the window. Holes were made to accommodate the bamboo poles, and the edges got covered with trimmed reeds. I guess they are reeds, I don't really know. While thrifting one day, I happened on a set of eight "bamboo" placemats and bought them thinking they may come in handy, and they proved to be just that. (I reused the twine that held a mat together to make the glass boat float. Use everything!) The chipboard palms have crepe paper bark and silk leaf fronds, and I topped the hut with a raffia roof.

Here's the reason I built the bar in the first place...cute cocktails! There is a great tutorial for making your own Cosmo, and I altered those instructions a teeny bit to make a Midori Sour with a seed bead cherry. The straw in the tumbler is masking tape rolled around a sewing needle. 

These two goofy tiki heads are my attempt at crepe paper sculpting. More about those down below.

Here you can see the glass boat float that was made with the upcycled thread and a cool miniature glass globe.

Finally found a use for the string of Fairy Lights that I've been hanging on to. They were strung inside the top of the bar for some nighttime entertaining.

I'm glad that it's acceptable for tiki heads to be roughly hewn in appearance, since my guys came out quite amateurish, but the process of making them is clear.  I cut the lid off a mini Kraft Treasure Chest, scribbled on a face, then cut out the eyes, nares, and mouth. It was hot glued into a cylindric shape before adding the raised shapes.

The features were built up with thin strips of rolled crepe paper dipped in white glue, then left to dry. I covered the rest of the head with wider strips of crepe paper, smoothing out the features as I went.  A round disk was added to the top and I used more of the placemat thread to cover the seam. A set of Tiny Red LED Demon Eyes were placed underneath the base for that eerie Tiki glow!

Here is the handy dandy link to the supplies used for the Tiki Beach Bar.

Other supplies used:

Balsa Wood
Thrift Shop Bamboo Placemats
Floral Foam
Crepe Paper

Is it five o'clock yet? Oh well. Cheers!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Mechanical Treasure Chest

I was pretty excited to know I'd get to assemble a treasure chest this month for Alpha Stamps! The chest is 4 1/2" x 2 3/4" x 2 1/2" tall, so there's plenty of room to stuff all sorts of gems inside. The outside of my treasure chest was covered with Graphic45's vibrant Voyage Beneath the Sea paper and painted with coordinating acrylic paint. 

The lid of the chest includes one of my favorite images from the G45 paper, this dapper snapper-riding gent that's ready for adventure. He's been glued onto a coil made from paper covered wire so he's sproingy. It reminds me of those metal animals on giant springs at the park. The lid also has a really cool 6 x 6 Gears Texture Sheet that I painted with Silks and cut to fit inside the lid's frame. There's also a metal clock with a spinning hand, a bronze octopus charm, a gorgeous (!) brass patina starfish, and an undersea beauty framed in a bronze gear.

So, what's inside the chest?

It is a little book! A little book that does little things!

Here is a short video.

I used many of the stamps in the Voyage Beneath the Sea stamp sets. 

I made the posable mermaid using the stamp from the Steampunk Mermaid set.

The Sea of Wonders stamp is included in the Riding a Fish set. 

All of the moving parts in my book are uncomplicated and I'm going to show you how to incorporate a few paper mechanics to your own art. Flaps are the easiest because it is four steps.

1. Cut out images.

2. Determine where to make a straight cut for your flap. Mine will be along the underside of the finger so I can slide the stem through. Make the cut.

3. Slide the flap through the slit. Glue down the flap of paper that is on the back. 

Sometimes the image you choose for the flap doesn't have a convenient stem, and in that case you can just cut a small rectangle of paper and glue it where you need it.

4. Hello!

The other cool thing you can do is add a pull string to make an image move. It takes four steps, too.

1. Gather materials: small eyelets, cut images, string (invisible or embroidery thread)

2. Determine where you want your moving image to "land" and also a place under that for the pull string. Poke holes with a thick needle or use a small hole punch, then add the eyelets. 

3. From the front of your card, thread the string through one eyelet then go out the other. I'm using black thread here to make it visible. And this, of course, is the back of my card.

4. Glue your moving image onto the string coming from the top eyelet and tie a button (or whatever you choose) to the other end. I like to glue my moving image onto black cardstock with the string in-between and then cut around the image again, just to make it look clean. On the back of card, add glue or double sided tape to perimeter only and adhere it to another sheet of cardstock. That will hide the string. 

To view all of the supplies in the Mechanical Treasure Chest, GO HERE. Have fun and happy crafting!