Wednesday, February 27, 2013


I am writing this blog post with three inches of snow on the ground and light snow flurries flying.  I am saying all of that as I share these photographs of our trip to Florida and the US Virgin Islands last week.  What a difference a week and a few thousand miles make!

We started off in Miami then to Naples, Florida to finish planning an annual meeting for AMCA ... a wonderful International organization that my husband happens to be the President of this year.  After the meetings concluded, we went through Pompano Beach, Florida; where my grandfather lived and is buried.  We found his grave and his old neighborhood and spent some time reminiscing.  He was a wonderful man.

Then my husband dropped me off at one of my favorite flea markets ... Festival Flea Market in Pompano Beach.  It is HUGE!!  I particularly like a small part in the back that is an "antique"/flea market section.  There is one booth in particular that I happened on a couple of years ago on my first visit to this place.  Her booth is so much fun!  I get to dig through container after container full of "junk"...but they are treasures to me and my mixed media art!
Sorry about my picture being sideways.  Not sure how to fix it!  Anyway, I found all sorts of fun metal findings; big heart buttons, metal flower parts, metal discs, old dice, all sorts of small metal buttons, old crystal and glass buttons, earrings drops that I will probably use for drawer pulls, etc.

Here is another picture of MORE metal stuff!!!  More earring drops, bags of all sort of chains, little copper charms, plastic wheels that I think will make some cool "vintage" Christmas ornaments, etc.

 And vintage LACE!!!  I LOVE vintage lace!  It's getting harder and harder to find so when I see some that I really like and it's priced reasonably, I snatch it up!

I was soooo happy with my treasures!  Then, on to Miami airport and a plane ride to paradise...St. Thomas and St. John US Virgin Islands.

 This is the view from our dinner table at Havana Blue in St. Thomas.  The beautiful views, the warm ocean breezes, sound of the surf and dinner with our dear friends from Chicago made the evening absolutely perfect!

The next night, we drove way up on the top of a peak in St. Thomas and had a lovely dinner at Mafolie's.  We watched the Caribbean sunset and enjoyed each other's company over a wonderful fresh seafood dinner.  Here is a picture from our table at Mofalie's at twilight.

 We took a day trip on the ferry over to St. Johns and thoroughly enjoyed the sun, sand and snorkeling at beautiful Trunk Bay.  This photograph does not do justice to the absolutely clearness and gorgeous turquoise and blue colors of the water.  The sand was as fine as flour.  Absolutely beautiful day!

And now...I'm back home where it's cold and snowy.  But, I'm sleeping in my own bed again.  I have my kids and grandkids back and I'm back in my craft room!  Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz was right...."There's No Place Like Home!"

Sunday, February 24, 2013


How many of us have all sorts of stamps sitting around that we love and don't use?  I am so guilty of that!  This weeks' Simon Says Stamp and Show Challenge is to use a stamp you love ... but don't use.

Stop by the blog and check out all of the really cool pieces that my design team buddies have waiting for you to see.  It's interesting to see all of the different styles of stamps and how they used them in their projects.

I have to admit...I have cheated just a little bit on this challenge.  I recently purchased Darkroom Door's "Fun and Games" stamp set from Simon Says Stamp.  So, I've not had it all that long...but I haven't used them yet!  And I do LOVE LOVE LOVE this stamp set! 

Every stamp in this set is so cool!  Vintage, nostalgic and I wanted to use ALL of them on this piece!  I almost did!

I started with a 5x7 canvas that I brushed with Studio Matte Multi Medium and then covered with 7 Gypsies Life Tissue Paper.  Then I heat set it.

I love teal mixed with browns or sepia tones, so I washed the canvas with Studio's Classic Teal paint mixed with water and heat set it again.

Next, I added a wash of Sable Brown over the canvas to antique it a bit.  Then I heat set it.  Next I rubbed some Graphite then Old Silver and then Copper Inka-Gold randomly around the edges and on the canvas.  It adds so much depth and richness to the canvas.  You will see the different in the next photo.  In the meantime, I had stamped all of my images and sort of laid them out where I thought I would want them to go on my canvas.  In doing that, I noticed a big blank area on my canvas that I didn't like.  What to do?

How about adding some of Wendy Vecchi's Studio 490 White Embossing Paste using her Brick Wall Stencil?  LOVE it!  Okay...but now the white is really stark against my finished background.

More Sable Brown paint and a little Copper Inka-Gold rubbed on the textured bricks.  LOVE it!  In the process of putting my design together, I decided to add another smaller 2x2 canvas; covered the same way as my larger canvas to really give dimension to my piece. 

Here is that 2x2 canvas with the word "LIFE" on it.  The letters are from Tim Holtz' Mixed Minis Grungeboard set.  I first painted them with a Pitch Paint Dabber followed by touches of a Gold Paint Dabber.  Then I rubbed some Inka-Gold Old Silver over them.  Next, I glued them in place using Glossy Accents and covered them with Crackle Accents to really lift them off of the canvas.  The different suits of cards are glued behind the 2x2 canvas using Tim Holtz' Memo Pins.  I love the extra dimension and color they provide to that corner of the canvas.

I really wasn't able to capture how cool these look in person. They are dimensional and crackled.  The "i" is dotted with a Bingo piece from the set that has been covered in Crackle Accents as well.

The Bingo cards were stamped onto manila cardstock that was distressed with Vintage Photo Distress Ink.  That wonderful vintage red ink color is Archival Vermillion.  I then cut out the cards, distressed the edges with a Tonic Paper Distresser and then inked the edges with Gathered Twigs and touches of Black Soot.  I bent the cards up a bit, added another Bingo piece to one card and layered them onto the canvas.

The joker.  Isn't he great?  I love this stamp!  He was stamped onto manila cardstock that was distressed with Vintage Photo Distress Ink.  Then I colored in the joker using my Derwent Watercolor Pencils.  I inked the edges in Black Soot and glued him into place.

Underneath the "LIFE" canvas are the words "ENJOY THE GAME".  I stamped them onto manila cardstock using Jet Black Archival Ink.  Then I cut closely around the letters.  The stamp set has those wonderful domino images.  So, I stamped them out using Jet Black Archival onto manila cardstock, cut them out, glued them onto chipboard for more dimension and then inked the edges with Black Soot.  Then I popped the words onto the top of each domino and covered the words with Crackle Accents.  When dry, I staggered them in place on the brick background.

Finally ... the chess pieces and dominoes across the bottom.  Originally, I just had the chess pieces laying across the bottom but they sort of died into the background.  But, when I added the domino strip across the bottom ... POP!  The chess pieces are stamped with Jet Black Archival ink onto manila cardstock and highlighted with the Inka-Gold Old Silver rubbed on their highlighted area.  Then they are pop dotted onto the dominoes.

Here is a different view of the canvas so you can see all of the dimension you can achieve by adding another smaller canvas, bending the Bingo cards, gluing the dominoes to chipboard before gluing them in place and pop dotting the words and chess pieces.

Now it's your turn to pull out that stamp that you love but haven't used!  Create something wonderful and post it to our challenge.  You could be our lucky weekly winner of a ...

$50.00 credit voucher to buy more stamps!!  Or whatever your heart desires!
You could also be selected as one of our TOP THREE entrees for the week...a nice honor!

Good luck and I can't wait to see what stamp you will use and how you will use it!

Here are the products available at Simon Says Stamp used in creating this canvas:

Sunday, February 17, 2013


Good Monday morning everyone! I hope you had a fantastic weekend!  It's time for this week's Simon Says Stamp and Show's challenge!  I LOVE this theme....
When I think of metal, I immediately think "STEAMPUNK".  And when I think of steampunk, I think of hot air balloons.  So ...

I have designed this steampunk style hot air balloon that I discovered is very hard to photograph in order to reflect it's true dimension and vintage feeling!  It is approximately 9" long from clock key top to tassel bottom.

I began with a 3" styrofoam ball and Ranger's Metal Foil Sheet strips.  I cut them into 3/4" width strips and randomly cut their lengths.  I then laid my metal strips on my Ten Seconds Studio Humungo pad and ran a detail wheel down the edges of the strips; making the edges looked soldered. 

Since the Metal Foil Sheets already have an adhesive backing, it was easy to simply attach the strips to the styrofoam ball.  Then I added some little pearls to many areas of the soldered strips to look like rivets.

I wanted my hot air balloon to look vintage, so I painted over the metal foil first with black (heat set it dry) and then randomly dry brushed the "balloon" with a rusty acrylic paint color.  When that was dry, I lightly added some gold highlights with a Gold Paint dabber and also some gold paint swiped onto my finger. 

Next I wanted to add some metal chains to use not only to embellish the balloon but also to attach the "basket" underneath the balloon.  

I found a really cheap bag of cool assorted chains at a flea market and have used the heck out of them!  Here, I cut 5 1/2" sections of a gold link chain.  Then I cut it at 3 1/2", where I inserted Tim Holtz' Mini Gear and joined them to each section of the chain with his Jump Rings.  Then I attached the remaining bottom section of the chain.

Because I was using a styrofoam ball, I could simply attach the chains at the top with straight pins pushed into the ball.  I also anchored them to the sides of the balloon with a straight pin.  Here, you can also see the transformation of the hot air balloon itself, from shiny silver metal to a rusty, vintage, more steampunk look.  I liked the way the chains looked against the balloon but it still needed something.....more chains!

So, I mixed the colors of my chains and draped an antiqued silver link chain across the balloon, spanning from gold chain to gold chain.  I cut those silver sections of chains at 3" and secured them with the straight pins that I had used to anchor the gold chains in place on the sides of the balloon.  Finally, to hide where the chains all came together and also add some more "umphf" to the balloon, I heat embossed these wonderful little vintage looking star circles from Tim Holtz' Bitty Grunge stamp set using Queen's Gold Embossing Powder.  I cut them out, lightly distressed them with Gathered Twigs Distress Ink and hot glued them in place.  I love the vintage feeling they add.

I added this metal assemblage to the top of my balloon.  First a copper piece topped with an antique gold clock face and a Tim Holtz antique gold Clock Key on top.  All hare screwed together and hot glued in place.  This really finishes off the top of the hot air balloon nicely and adds to the steampunk charm.

Now I was ready to create and attach the "basket" to my hot air balloon.  In keeping with the Metalogy theme, I wanted the basket to be metal but I wasn't sure how to go about creating it.  Then it hit me .... a bathroom size Dixie cup!!!

Even the bathroom size cup proved to be a bit too tall for my liking, so I measured 1 1/2" up from the bottom and cut around the cup.  Next, I cut a piece of Ten Seconds Studio's chocolate colored sheet metal to cover my Dixie cup.  I dry embossed it using Tim Holtz' Checkerboard Texture Fade and then slightly sanded the raised areas of the metal.  Finally, I added highlights of gold onto the checkerboard pattern using my Gold Paint Dabber.  

The "basket" was really coming together but, even with the embossing, it still looked plain to me.  So, I added some metallic foil Dresden trim to the top and bottom.  Then I hot glued four of Tim Holtz' Pen Nibs to the basket to attach the gold chains from the hot air balloon.  I adjusted the lengths of the bottom section of the gold chains to proportionally fit the hot air balloon to the basket (leaving just 4 links of gold chain underneath the Mini Gears).

Underneath the hot air balloon, I added an assemblage of a Tim Holtz' Mini Gear and a Tassel in the center to attach to the underside of the balloon "basket".  Now the balloon was finished but it needed a passenger.

So I stamped one of my favorite fellas from Wendy's Vecchi's European Art stamp set onto a piece of Manila Cardstock using Coffee Archival Ink.  Then I colorized him using Milled Lavender (skin tones) and Tumbled Glass (shirt) Distress Inks and a Small Sakura Water Brush.  I attached more Mini Gears to his hat and a steampunk-ish hand from Tim Holtz' Warehouse District stamp set.  It is attached with a coiled piece of wire.  

Finally, I added a little "signage" to my balloon:  an "Admit One" ticket and an "Enjoy The Journey" flying banner.  Enjoy the journey is appropriately enough from Tim Holtz' Going Somewhere stamp set.  Both pieces are stamped on Manila Cardstock and distressed with Gathered Twigs and edged with Black Soot Distress Inks.

So, that it's it ... my high flying steampunk chap in his metallic hot air balloon!

Check out the wonderful metal inspiration from all of the Design Team over at Simon Says Stamp and Show and then enter our challenge. You could be the lucky random winner of our ...

$50.00 credit voucher to spend at Simon Says Stamp!  You might also be one of our very talented TOP THREE choices for the week! 

I hope my metal hot air balloon has gotten your creative wheels turning!  Thanks for stopping by my blog and good luck with this week's challenge!

Here are the products available at Simon Says Stamp that were used in this project: