Saturday, August 30, 2014


Hello everyone and welcome to a new challenge over at the lovely Linda Ledbetter's Studio L3 website where you will find the latest and greatest Compendium of Curiosities III Challenge!

Thank everyone so much for joining in on the challenges.  The Curiosity Crew absolutely LOVES creating art for you each challenge using Tim Holtz' products and techniques. You are going to be blown away this week!  

We also thank you so much for your always wonderful support and comments on our work. We try so hard to educate, encourage and inspire you.

This week, our challenge takes us into Tim's world of Assemblage Clocks. I absolutely ADORE these little guys.  They are like a shadow box but with so much personality even before you begin! 

I plan on making some vintage holiday clocks for Christmas and Halloween.  I wish I had all of Tim's new Christmas Ideaology but it's not been released yet.  So I dug into my stash of vintage Christmas goodies, cranked up the Christmas music in my studio to get me into the Christmas Spirit and let my imagination take me where it wanted to go.

HO! HO! HO!  This is my finished vintage Assemblage Clock.  I love it! It's so dimensional; looks like a snow globe without the water and the snow flurries!

Since this is NOT a technique challenge, I can share with you the steps and little tips I used in creating this clock.  It has a shiny metallic finish. It measures approximately 5 1/2" across by 7" tall.  So, this is a nice size home decor piece or could lay in the branches of a Christmas tree as a vintage ornament. It has a removable metal back so that you can create your scenes on the interior and then replace the back. It also has a glass front; encapsulating your masterpiece.  The glass can be removed if you prefer your interior to spill out of the circular capsule.

I began by painting a base coat of white Gesso over the entire clock. Some people choose to take the clock all apart but I don't. I covered it with Gesso because the shiny metal surface is sort of slick and the Gesso gives the clock some "tooth" so that paint or stain or whatever medium you are working with will grab to the surface easier.  (Be sure to let whatever you are using dry between each layer.)

I wanted my clock to have a sort of "old world" distressed vintage exterior so I first covered the Gesso with Antiqued Bronze Distress Paint (using a paint brush). 

For my next layer, I brushed on a thin layer of clear Crackle Glaze. When that was dry, I brushed over it with some Martha Stewart Satin Red Paint. The crackle is not real obvious but exactly what I wanted. When the red paint dried, I added highlights of Treasure Gold Renaissance Guilding Wax. It adds such a subtle shimmer and really defines edges and raised areas. I love the antiqued finish that it adds.

Next I decorated the exterior of the clock. If I had had Tim's new Garland Trim, I would have used it around the circle of my clock. But since it has not been released yet, I used some little holly garland I had in my stash.  I gently sprayed Tim's Silver Tinsel Twine with a light mist of Design Master Honey Spray and transformed the shiny silver finish into more of an old world goldish/silver tinsel. I wrapped the garland with Tim's Tinsel Twine and glued it into place around the clock face. Then I hot glued the little vintage Christmas beads I had cut from a vintage beaded garland I had.

The top between the bells features some vintage looking holly leaves and berries, an old Christmas corsage bell that I found at a flea market, a few little berries from a old Christmas pick and some gathered gold tulle.

With my exterior pretty much finished, it was time to start on my Christmas scene.  I had a little vintage Santa that I was going to use in my clock interior and decided to make a snowy scene around him. So, I gathered up some objects and got started!

I began with the smaller of the two trees from Tim's original Woodland Trees release.  These bottle brush trees start off as a cream color.  So, you can transform them into any color you want! I began by spraying the tree with some Peeled Paint Distress Stain that I have put into a Mister Bottle rather than leaving it in the original packaging. Next I added some Pine Needles Distress Stain onto my Non Stick Craft Sheet and twirled the Christmas tree around in the stain, allowing some the edges of the "branches" to be darker. It gives a more natural, blended color for the tree. 

When the stain was dry, I added some White Gesso with a wooden stick and sprinkled it with sparkly glitter while it was still wet to create a freshly fallen snow look.

When that dried, I hot glued the little star (from a miniature gold Christmas garland) and gold ball chain as garland to the tree. (I also painted the base white with Gesso so that it would blend into my snowy base that would be inside of the clock). 

Santa needs reindeer, right?  I found these darling little miniature reindeer at a local craft store.  There were four in a package, two smaller and two larger.  They were plain like the one on the left.  I added the little sparkly red and green ribbon and the tiny jingle bell to the ones I used in my snowy scene.  You will see them better in the closeup picture of the finished scene later. (The background paper here is "The Night Before Christmas" from Tim's new Red Merriment Paper Stash. It's all Christmas papers and images.  Love it!!

And speaking of Tim's new Merriment Paper Stash, I used this piece from the 6x6 section of papers to create the background for my scene. Don't you just LOVE the vintage bells?  I distressed the edges with Fired Brick and Vintage Photo Distress Inks.  It is glued onto the back of the metal clock back.  

Here is a close up look at the snowy Christmas scene I created.  Everything is hot glued into place, starting with the "snowy" base created from quilt batting. Then I hot glued my Santa. Next came the smallest reindeer in front of Santa followed by the larger reindeer to the front left. Behind him, I placed my Christmas tree. Finally, I added the larger reindeer behind Santa and to the right on another little puff of snow. I added the dangling snowflakes using a thin piece of silver wire that is hot glued to the top of the clock. They are cute when the freely swing as you move the clock.  Be sure to look through the glass as you are placing your objects in your scene before (and sometimes during ) gluing them in place. It really helps to get the proper placement of each piece. When you are finished with your scene, you simply press the back of the clock into place.


Sometimes the placement of your interior objects can be a bit tricky. Here's why ...

The interior size of the cavity can be deceiving.  The clock face measures 4" across at the widest point.  BUT ... the area across the lower part of the clock, where you will be creating your scene is only about 3" across. The clock cavity is pretty deep so it seems like there would be tons of room to put all sorts of "stuff". But it fills up pretty quickly and you have to remember that you have a back that slides in, taking up about 1/4" from the back space and there is a glass piece across the front of the clock (unless you choose to remove it).

Clean your clock glass before you start putting things into your clock! If you happen to get hot glue on the glass as you are gluing in your objects, it will come off...but try not to get it on the glass in the first place!  I speak from experience!  (smile)

You also need to be careful about the size of the things you use to create your scene.  If they are really big, you won't be able to put very many elements in that 3" width at the base to make for a cute little scene. The curvature of the base of the clock can also come into play.  Just some things to consider as you are creating your interior.

As a finishing touch, I added the "Merry Christmas" tag to my clock.  This was created using the script stamp from Tim's last year's Christmas stamp release, and one of my favorites, Mini Holidays 5. It is gold embossed on a brick red cardstock. I glued it onto a piece of cardstock. The back side of the tag is a red and white strip that was the back side of the vintage bells paper I used on my clock background. I cut out the size of the tag I wanted, rounded the two outter edges using a Crop A Dile Chomper 1/4" corner rounder and then punched a hole in the top to add the gold ribbon. I hot glued the two edges together and hot glued it in place at the top of my clock.

So there it is ... my finished vintage Christmas clock. I decorate A LOT for Christmas and I always like to create something new every year. This will definitely be a fun addition! 

I will probably make another one of these and instead of a Christmas scene, I think I will only have little a snow with a Christmas tree and maybe a little reindeer to the left of the foreground and picture of all of my grandchildren together as the background. Add "2014" to the back side of the "Merry Christmas" tag and use it as a large ornament on my Grand Childrens' Vintage Christmas tree.  I make an ornament every year for a vintage themed tree that is in my entry hall dedicated to my Grandchildren. This would be too large to hang at the edge of a branch, but it would be really cute nestled in some branches!

I hope that this tutorial has given you some ideas and some good tips as you go forward to create you own Assemblage Clock.  Don't be afraid to try one. They are absolutely DARLING and so much fun to make!  Just be mindful of how deceiving the space in the interior can be as you are designing your scene.

After you've created your clock, be sure to share it will all of us at the Compendium of Curiosities Challenge. It is such a fun community of Tim Holtz' lovers who share a passion for his techniques and products. It is so much fun to see everyone's amazing art that they post each challenge. Beautiful work!

Our sponsor for this challenge is the lovely Linda Coughlin of The Funkie Junkie Boutique.  She is generously donating a $25.00 gift certificate!! Thank you Linda!!!

And... we also have a bountiful prize package from a mountain of "goodies" that Tim and Mario have so graciously donated to the Compendium of Curiosities III Challenge to distribute each challenge. Thanks so them for their always continuing support and generosity!

I can't wait to see your clocks!!!


Saturday, August 16, 2014


Happy Saturday everyone!!!

Welcome to my blog and another challenge over at the lovely Linda Ledbetter's Compendium of Curiosities III Challenge

I have to say that I am continually BLOWN AWAY each week by the really beautiful and original art that everyone shares on our challenge. Sometimes it is SO HARD for the Curiosity Crew to choose just one winner. guys are really creating some imaginative, BEAUTIFUL pieces! 

I also want to thank everyone from the bottom of my heart for all of the really uplifting comments you leave me. I read each one and they truly mean the world to me! 

Tim Holtz and Mario have donated so many wonderful Tim Holtz products for these challenges. Did you see the pile of prizes for the last challenge?  Even a set of Letter Press blocks in a huge stash of goodies! A huge THANK YOU to Tim and Mario for their generosity!!

This week, we are diving into the world of Tim's Stamps and Framelits!  So, pull out your Compendium of Curiosities III books and turn to page 63.

Okay, confession time!!!  I was a skeptic of the framelits because I figured I can always stamp an object and just cut around it, right?  Why did I need a framelit to do that for me?  Well, after doing this challenge, I am a huge believer in framelits now! 

They are amazing little metal devices that make the edges around your stamped images so much more clean and precise. And it really cuts down on the time it takes to cut out your stamped images...especially if you are making more than one, as I have done on my project for you ...

A Halloween Candle Holder!

I literally made this project in about half a day.  It was one of those wonderful little times when you go to your craft room, all of the planets and stars align and you can just crank something out that you love.

(The progression of the creation of the sides of the candle holder.)

I began with eight pieces of black chipboard; 4 each cut to the size of Tim's Postage Stamp die cut and also his Window and Window Box die cut. 

I covered 4 of the pieces of chipboard for the postage stamp die cut with some Graphic 45 Halloween paper and 4 pieces for the window with orange cardstock using Glue N Seal to adhere the paper to the chipboard first. Then I cut them all out.

I used Tim's medium retangle from his Sized Retangles die cut in the center of the postage stamp die cut to create a frame effect. 

I used 1/4" Scor Tape to join all of the pieces together to create each basic side of the candle holder. It it hard to see in the photograph but I also added a sheet of heavy clear film  behind the window to create a glass window pane effect. After each side was finished, I die cut four more postage stamp frames out of black cardstock and backed each of the panels to cover all of my construction and give them a nice, finished look. 

Now...onto the Framelits and giving my candleholder some personality!

I decided to make all of the sides of my candle holder basically the same. So I stamped four of each of the images above from Tim's Retro Halloween Framelits set onto some Specialty Stamping Paper using Jet Black Archival Ink and then heat set it. I colored the witch face using my Detailer Water Brush and Shabby Shutters (face), Worn Lipstick (tongue), Tattered Rose (cheeks), Spiced Marmalade (hat) and a mix of Shabby Shutters and Evergreen (eyes) Distress Inks. This picture shows the images after they have been cut out using Tim's little Framelits still in place at this point.

The Specialty Stamping Paper is very white. I wanted my characters to be a bit more vintage looking, so I gently pressed Antique Linen Distress Ink all over them.  It is a bit hard to see but the top character in each pile does NOT have the Antique Linen rubbed over it yet. In person, you can see a big difference in the white being toned down.  Antique Linen also seems to "set" the colors of the witch so nicely.

I fashioned a "body" out of black cardstock for my witch. Then I simply glued each of the heads onto the body.  The other characters will be on the outside of the holder.  The witch will be on the inside, peering out of the window.  So, she needed a body!

Here you can see one of the four panels coming together. The witch is behind the window.  The black cat is prowling around outside. The skeleton will be added to the right side after I add the little Tattered Banners at the top.  These were constructed out of Sticky Back Canvas that was adhered to a piece of cardstock. I distressed all of the banners with Gathered Twigs Distress Ink then stamped either "BOO" or "EEK" onto them with Jet Black Archival. Each banner is wrapped around a piece of elastic black cording to create the banner. At the top corners of each panel, I used my Crop A Dile to punch a hole big enough for the cording to slide through and be knotted on the back side. 

Here are the completed four panels.  These would make really cute card fronts or embellishments for decorative trick or treat sacks, too. But, I had envisioned them as a candle holder so I continued on...

I joined each panel together at the top with some DMC Color Infusions Memory Thread.  I took the thread through the same holes as I punched to add the banners.

To hold the panels together at the bottom, I simply made some little strips of black cardstock and added 1/4" Scor Tape to them.  

Then I added four of these at the bottom and four in the center of each joint to hold the panels firmly in place.

I added a base made out of two pieces of black chipboard cut 5 1/4" by 5 1/2". I joined the two pieces together using 1/4" Scor Tape, sanded the edges and then colored them using a Black Soot Distress Marker. Then I simply set the candle holder on top of the base. Finally, I added four tea lights in each of the windows. 

Here is one of the finished "BOO" sides of the candle holder. 

And here is a closeup of and "EEK" side. 

So...there you have fun and easy to make Halloween Candle Holder using Tim's Retro Halloween Framelits set among some of his other wonderful die cuts and products.

Now it is YOUR turn to pull out your Framelits and join in on the fun this week over at The Compendium of Curiosities III Challenge. The Curiosity Crew has some over the top cool ideas to get your creative juices flowing so go check them out.  Then join us and post your entry to our challenge. Be sure to link your project to our challenge and also to our wonderful sponsor's blog in your write up!  Speaking of our sponsor ....

This week, the wonderful folks at Inspiration Emporium are offering a

$50.00 gift certificate to their fabulous online store!  THANK YOU to Inspiration Emporium and Tim and Mario (and also our other sponsor, The Funkie Junkie Boutique) for all of the amazing prizes and opportunity for more than one person to win a prize each and every week.

Have fun with this challenge and GOOD LUCK!!

Monday, August 11, 2014


Hello friends and welcome to my blog!

Can you believe how quickly this summer is flying by?  It's already almost the middle of August! 
Recently, Laura Bomber of Our Creative Corner asked me if I would be a guest designer for them. It took me about a nano second to say "yes!". She is such a talented artist as are ALL of the members of Our Creative Corner's Design Team.  I have always been such a fan of Laura's art. Her style is something that really "clicks" with me.  It's very vintage/shabby chic. Her attention to detail and the artistic quality of her work just blows me away. Not only is her art amazing, but she is such a sweet and genuine person.  It has been so fun working with her.

The theme is for this challenge at Our Creative Corner is appropriately enough "Summertime".  So I have used some of my favorite things to create this lovely Tim Holtz Small Folio.  

For a complete photo tour of the folio, the products I used and a tutorial, slip on over to Our Creative Corner HERE.  And, if you'd like to leave a comment here and there, I'd really appreciate that! I love reading your thoughts. 

Enjoy the week and I hope this piece will inspire you to enter the Summertime challenge!

Saturday, August 2, 2014


Good morning friends!  Welcome to my blog. 

If you are a lover of vintage and shabby chic, then hopefully you will love this post.

I was thrilled recently when Linda Coughlin of the Frilly and Funkie Challenges and also the owner of The Funkie Junkie Boutique asked me to do a guest designer spot for her.  We have been friends since our days together on the design team for Simon Says Stamp And Show. She is such a sweetheart and very talented artist.

Linda's online store, The Funkie Junkie Boutique is one of my favorite places to shop for unique embellishments. She carries all sorts of fun little metal embellishments; particularly gorgeous filigree pieces, a nice selection of beautiful Venise laces and a lot of Tim Holtz Products as well!  All very reasonably priced; and who doesn't love that?!

Here is the versatile little piece that I created for Linda made from a plain copper 2" x 2" metal Memory Frame. It can be an embellishment for a card, mini book or album among other things.  You could add a bale to the top, add a chain and it could be a shabby chic pendant.  Add a pin to the back and it could be a vintage pin or broach. 

Special thanks to Linda for asking me to be a guest designer for her! This was so much fun to make and really easy!  Hop on over to The Frilly and Funkie Challenge and check out my step by step tutorial. 

Have a great week!


Hello Compendium of Curiosities III Challenge lovers!  
It's time for a new challenge!  Check out all of the beautiful art that has been created to inspire you from all of the Curiosity Crew at the lovely Linda Ledbetter's challenge site Here.  

Just in case you are new to the challenge, it is based on the products and techniques found in the Compendium of Curiosities Volume III, written by our favorite Master of Distress and All Things Grunge ... Tim Holtz.  

Have you seen his new summer releases?  If not, you have got to check out his blog! His new Stampers Anonymous Holiday Stamps are very cool for the upcoming Halloween and Christmas season. The new Holiday Sizzix die cuts are also very festive. And my favorite ... his new Merriment Ideaology line! I cannot wait to get my hands on those!  They should be in stores pretty soon so be looking for those!

But for now, back to our challenge! Are you ready?  

Challenge 8 is all about FADED LAYERS.  So turn to page 58 in your Compendium of Curiosities III book and check out Tim's step by step technique.

I created this card to illustrate Tim's Faded Layers technique in my background.  While I won't divulge the "how to" of this technique because that is what your book is for, I will show you as much of the step by step in the creation of this card that I can.

I used Butterscotch, Cooper Mixative and Stream Alcohol Inks to create the colors of my background on Glossy Cardstock.

To create my Faded Layers, I used Tim's Harlequin and Bubble Stencils.  Here you can see the faded images of those two stencils on my card.

I like the sort of "ghosty" images you get from the Faded Layers technique and I didn't really want to cover them up with a lot of stamping.  So I decided to add some pretty metallic die cuts to embellish my card front. 


I used an antique bronze metallic sheet and backed it with some kraft cardstock for stability. This eloquent die cut edge is from Spellbinder's A Gilded Life Collection. I added the pearls that were originally white but I transformed their appearance with Caramel Alcohol Inks. I also added some small rhinestones to the centers of the Fleur Dis Les points and also underneath the pearls to dress up this already ornate trim. Along the edge of the trim, I added a piece of Dresden scallop trim using 1/8" Scor Tape.

Alcohol inks are great for transforming the appearance of anything that has a non porous surface. You can color glass, plastics, pearls, rhinestones, metals, non porous papers ... anything that is non porous simply by pouncing the alcohol ink onto the surface using the ink applicator.  Use one or mix a combination of colors at the same time for a marbleized look.

Next, I used some more of my antique bronze metal sheet that was backed with kraft paper and die cut a pretty lacy butterfly and several flowers from Tim Holtz' Tattered Floral Garland die cut.

I also die cut a dainty flower stem.  Then I layered and bent the petals of my tattered flowers using a Long Fastener.  I would later add one of Tim's Ideaology Pen Nibs to the body of my butterfly. Here are most of the elements I used on the front of my card.

The next step was to begin placing them on my card front by gluing them in place. 

The Pen Nib is originally an antique silver color. I altered it's appearance to match my antique bronze metal die cut objects by wiping some Treasure Gold Renaissance Guilding Wax over it.  Then I wrapped some coordinated wire around the nib and brought it up behind the nib, creating the antenna.  I then glued it to my butterfly (using Glossy Accents) once I had placed it on my card front.

Here is a closer look at my butterfly and some of the Tattered Flowers. The butterfly's wings can be lifted to give more dimension to the card front. I love how the metal embellishments look against the colors and the faded layers of my background.

And here is a better look at the dimension that the Tattered Flowers give to the card.

I added a piece of cardstock behind my Faded Layers background to give my card that matted finish. The edge of the cardstock was swiped with Antique Bronze Distress Stain and then I joined the two cardstocks together using 1/4" Scor Tape. I literally made this card in about two hours from start to finish. So it's not a difficult project to do.

I hope that you will join our Compendium of Curiosities III Challenge.  Our prize for this challenge is a $25.00 gift certificate from one of my favorite places ...

There is also a fabulous prize package given for each challenge that has been generously donated especially for this challenge by Tim and Mario!  So don't miss out on learning this new technique, sharing your art with so many others who love Tim's style and having the chance to win some wonderful prizes!  See the challenge blog for all of the details on how to enter and win.

Good luck!