Saturday, February 28, 2015


Hello everyone!  

Are you ready for a little grungy fun?

How about a tutorial on a easy way to create a faux rust effect?  
I've used this technique to create the rusted frame used on the cover of my Paris Folio created for the Compendium Of Curiosities III Collection Folio Challenge. 

This is an Andy Skinner technique.  All of the products used in creating this fabulous faux rusted frame are from the fabulous new DecoArt Mixed Media Line. 

Here is a finished frame very similar to the one I used on my Paris folio cover. Just wait 'til you see it's evolution!!!

Step 1. Begin by cutting a frame out of black foam board. I used Tim Holtz' Postage Stamp and the larger of his Sized Rectangles Die Cuts.  This can be cut using a regular die cut machine.  I used my Sizzix Vagabond.

Step 2. Paint a generous coat of DecoArt Crackle Paint over the entire surface of the frame and allow to dry. 

Step 3. Using a permanent black in (I used Jet Black Archival), randomly stamp a design on top of the frame. I used the text stamp from Andy Skinner's Stampendous Industrial set.  Heat set the stamped image.

Step 4. Seal the frame with a light coat of Ultra-Matte Varnish brushed over the entire surface. Let dry or gently heat set.

Step 5. DRY BRUSH small amounts of Quinacridone Gold randomly on the frame where you want the "rust" to appear.

Step 6. DRY BRUSH small areas of Carbon Black within the Quinacridone Gold areas done in Step 5. You might also want to lightly randomly dry brush along some edges of the frame. Then lightly DRY BRUSH a bit more Quinacridone Gold if needed to complete the look. 

Step 7. Mix a small amount of Ultra-Matte Varnish, Quinacridone Gold and Paynes Grey to create what Andy Skinner likes to call a "dirty wash". (I also add just a touch of water to this mix).   This mix should be about 70% Quinacidone Gold to about 30% Paynes Grey then add enough varnish and/or water to brush over the frame. Wipe away excess dirty wash or continue to brush more on until the desired effect is achieved.

** This wash not only enriches the color of the frame and totally meshes everything together perfectly, it also provides another layer of sealer to protect the frame.

Here is the finished faux rusted frame. And ...

here is a closeup look of the technique done on the black foam board. Don't you just love that beautiful crackled background, the randomly stamped letters, the faux rusted spots and silky smooth matte varnished finished?  The foam board really gives this frame such nice dimension and it's so light weight!

**NOTE - On the frame on the cover of the Paris Folio, I also added light touches of Patina Green Antiquing Cream that I simply wiped on using my finger.  This product is water soluble and until it is heat set or sealed, you can wipe away any excess patina look. 

This technique can be done on lots of other surfaces besides a black foam board.  Give it a try!  It's super simple and fast. You will LOVE the DecoArt Media Line products and the results you get using them.

Have a crafty weekend!  



Bonjour Mon Amis!  
Comment allez-vous aujourd'hui? 

Okay...enough with the French for today. I don't recall all of that much of it from my high school classes back in the day anyway. 

Ready for the next challenge at Compendium of Curiosities III hosted by the lovely Linda Ledbetter?  It's not a French challenge but my project does have a French flair to it.  Turn to page 34 in your books and check out Tim Holtz' Collection Folio.  That is the subject of this challenge and this is my creation .... a folio celebrating my epic trip to France last July.  I adore France .... such a beautiful country and Paris was "ohh laa laa!" 

I truly love the design of this folio; with all of it's flip pages and pockets I've added to stuff pictures and memorabilia from our trip.  It's small enough to easily transport from place to place or lay out on a table as a beautiful conversation piece.  The small folio measures approximately 8 1/2" x 7" when closed but when open, it expands to an impressive 15", not to mention all of the interactive pages within. 

I began by covering the inside and outside of the folio (except for the interior back) with selections appropriately enough from Tim's French Industrial Paper Stash.  I waited to cover the interior back until I had secured the waterfall inserts in place.  I'll explain that in more detail later ...

Once all of the kraft paper folio was covered, I distressed all of the edges using Gathered Twigs and Black Soot Distress Inks. I also added various Washi tapes to the exterior back of the folio and also later on the waterfall inserts for added interest.  I then randomly stamped the French script images from Tim's Papillon stamp set on the cover of the folio using Jet Black Archival Ink. 

One of the most iconic images of France is the beautiful Eiffel Tower.  I printed this photo I'd taken of the Eiffel Tower onto a Semi-Gloss Photo Paper, cut it out and then inked around the perimeter with Vintage Photo to give it a more "retro" appearance. Then I created the faux rusted metal frame on the right out of Tim's Postage Stamp and Sized Rectangles Die cuts and a piece of black foam board.  The techniques I used in creating this very cool frame can be found HERE.

Add a little vintage lace behind the frame, add a heart and I think it looks pretty amazing!  The heart is one of Tim's Mini Hearts cut from black foam board as well.  It is painted with Barn Door Distress Paint and I've rubbed away the edges with a baby wipe to reveal the black foam board underneath. "PARIS" (also from Tim's Papillon stamp set) is stamped in Jet Black Archival Ink. 

This metallic oval frame is from Tim's Industrial Frames and Trims Stickers.  I've added a little Juniper Archival Ink with my fingers to give this a patina effect. The photograph of the patina statue is taken at the Palace at Versailles and I think the patina oval frame really compliments it well.

Included with each folio is a sewn kraft paper inset so that you can create a waterfall of pages.  

I chose to paint each of my inset pieces with Barn Door Distress Paint.  I later covered some of the insets with washi tape or completely covered the insets with cardstock. 

When you open the folio cover, you are greeted with photographs from the Champs Elysees and the Louvre.  The Louvre photo is backed with kraft cardstock for extra support.  Then cut out and double side taped on the sides and the bottom to create a pocket.

Then photos are matted with black cardstock and can be added to the pocket.  This is an easy way to create more interest and storage space on your folio pages!

For this folio, I chose to add covered library pockets as my first page.  Here are two of the three pockets.  I added double sided tape to the lower edge and pressed it against the back side of the first inset that has already been covered with Washi Tape.

Here are the backs of the above pockets after they have been secured onto the inset.  These stamped images are from Tim's Paris to London and Paris Memoirs stamp sets. The Fleur De Lis are highlighted with a Gold Paint Dabber and Tim's Detailer Water Brush.  There is also gold highlighting around the exterior edges of the covered library card pockets.

On the next inset, I had decorated the kraft cardstock inset with Tim's Tissue Tape, a piece of textured ribbon and a crown brad.  The third covered library card pocket is centered on the inset. 

Now all of the pockets are in place and ready to hold little trinkets and memorabilia.

And here are the pockets from the back.  The center pocket is stamped with images from Tim's Paris to London, Papillon and Mercantile stamp sets. Notice the inset is covered with Washi and Tim's Tissue Tapes?  

Here is a look at the pockets installed in the book. I love the depth they add.
Onto the next page ... I call it the "Eiffel envelope". 

I began with a long 8 1/2" envelope.  I covered it with papers from Tim's French Industrial Paper Stash.  But before I covered the front of the envelope, I added some harlequin pattern using Tim's Harlequin Stencil and Black Gesso scraped through the stencil. 

I added Victorian Velvet Distress Ink to the background and then used Tim's new Flourish Stencil with Perfect Pearls Forever Red Spray to add more layers to the background. 

The back of the envelope was covered in Tim's papers, torn edges were distressed with Gathered Twigs and Black Soot Distress Inks.  The flourish at the top is from Tim's Remnant Rubons. The Tissue Tape around the edges was added last.

Here is a photo of the envelope attached to the next inset. I love how the folio is really starting to flow. 

Add a couple of photos matted on black cardstock and an ornate resin frame colored with paint from a Gold Paint Dabber plus some Gold Interference Paint and Black Antiquing Cream. The frame is held in place with Glossy Accents.

The next page I added will be known at the "Notre Dame Cathedral" pocket page.  For this page, I used French script in the background of the front and back.  The edges were distressed with Gathered Twigs and Black Soot.  I distressed the interior of the pages with Wild Honey and Mustard Seed Distress Inks and followed with some spritzes of Turquoise Perfect Pearls Spray.  The sweet bird and floral image from Tim's Wallflower Paper Stash provided the perfect pocket.  I added the vintage lace using 1/8" double sided tape and sewed back and front papers together.  They are glued in place on the next inset using double sided tape.  Note the postal washi tape on the back of the "Eiffel envelope"? That covers where I added the envelope to the inset, creating the page before the "Notre Dame Cathedral" pocket page.

Here is the pocket page with the Notre Dame Cathedral matted on the background and other matted photos placed in the pocket.

And here is the finished spread of these two pages in the folio.  Next up ... a trip to the Palace at Versailles.

I only used one paper to create the front and back of this page.  The double sided tape on the left is on a 1/4" tab that will bend backward and adhere the tape to the next kraft inset.

I wanted this page to reflect some of the brick from the Palace at Versailles so I used my new Tim Bricked Stencil and Fired Brick and a touch of Aged Mahogany Distress Inks to create the brick effect on the pages (both front and back).

I distressed the edges with Gathered Twigs and Black Soot Distress Inks and then I added smears of black paint onto the edges using my finger.  I added some circles of paint using the lid from the Paint Dabber bottle dipped into the black paint. I also added bits of sprayed black ink using my Tim Holtz Spray Diffuser and my Black Soot Distress Marker.  Finally, I added "art" using rub on letters and the remaining letters stamped with Jet Black Archival.

I added a couple of matted photos of the palace and some stamped paint brushes from Tim's Artful Tools stamp set.  They were colored using Distress Inks and Tim's Detailer Water Brush.  The Fleur Di Les is highlighted with gold paint using the Detailer Water Brush and is given the shadow effect using a Black Stabilo Pencil and the water brush. The resin crown at the top is painted with gold paint and antiqued with a teal antiquing cream.

And here is the finished page in the folio.  You can also see the pocket page created on the page before.  "Journey" is a Tim Holtz stamp on the pocket. 

This is the backside of the Palace At Versailles page before any matted photographs were added.  You can clearly see the brick stenciling, the black smears and spritzes as well as the edge distressing.

The next spread of pages are devoted to more pictures of the Palace At Versailles. The page on the right is a pocket page that I added and included in the folio in the same manner as the previous pages.  "Travel 2014" on the left are some of Tim's Remnant Rubons.

"FRANCE" on the far right are created out of license plates stickers from Tim's Destinations Salvage Stickers.  I love them! I added the black sketch lines and little hearts. What a fun way to fill up an otherwise empty space!

The back of this page features Montmartre ... a quaint area that I fell in love with.  I created another pocket with the bottom matted photograph by adding double sided tape on the top, bottom and right side of the photograph.  I added a map of Montmartre and a tab featuring the Basilica Sacre Coeur, a gorgeous basilica with breathtaking architecture and beautiful painted ceiling.

Upon completion of this page, I was able to secure the waterfall inset to the back cover of the folio with double sided tape. Then I covered the back cover of the folio with paper and proceeded to finish the folio with photographs from another of my favorite memories of France .... Normandie.

Normandie is an absolutely beautiful, peaceful place that definitely was not that during World War II.  It was a weird feeling to walk the battlefield areas of Normandie, above the famous beaches where the Allied troops landed.  There were still bunkers in tact and all sorts of mounds where bunkers used to litter the countryside.  There were wild flowers,lush green fields and birds soaring overhead as they sang their sweet summer songs. Our visit to the American Cemetery at Normandie was somber yet feelings of pride swelled inside of me.  The grounds were meticulous...a reverent tribute to those who gave their lives defending the freedom of those so far away from home.  

I created another pocket on the  fold down flap at the bottom of the folio that is full of more matted photos from Normandie.

The opened folio....complete with all of it's pockets, flip ups, photos and memories.  Here you can get a better idea of the "waterfall" effect of the kraft inset included with the bare folio.  

Now it's YOUR turn to create a folio of your art, a trip, family memories; whatever speaks to you and join us at Compendium of Curiosities III.  

The wonderful people at Inspiration Emporium are sponsoring this challenge and are awarding a randomly drawn winner with a $50.00 gift certificate to their fabulous online store.  Click on their image above to visit their website.

And of course, Tim and Mario's generosity is widely known.  They have donated so many amazing Tim Holtz products to be awarded to the winning entry voted on by the Curiosity Crew each challenge.  So, two chances to win prizes just for entering.

I hope you'll join us and thanks for stopping by my blog today!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015


Hello blogging buddies!

I've been having so much fun playing in my studio with my new DecoArt goodies! 

I started with three plain wooden containers that measure 3 1/2" tall x 2 1/2" deep x 4" wide. The top is open. I saw them at a local craft store.  They were cheap and I thought with a little help, they could be very cool pencil/art brush holders that I have been desperately needing.

Using my new DecoArt products and the knowledge I gained by watching Andy Skinner's "Rock my Book" video as a bonus feature of his "Book of Ruination" Online Workshop I created these amazingly easy and FUN to create Steampunk style holders. 

While I would LOVE to share the step by step with you, that would not be fair to Andy.  Even though this project is my own idea, the technique behind it is Andy's.  However, if you click on the "Book of Ruination" link above, you will be whisked away to Andy's blog for all of the details for that class plus the added bonus of this technique in "Rock My Book".  

I CAN tell you that I used

  • DecoArt's Media Fluid Acrylic Paints
  • DecoArt's Antiquing Cream
  • DecoArt's Texture Paste
  • DecoArt's Matte Decopage (Glue-sealer-finish)
  • DecoArt's Molding Paste
  • Various metal, chipboard and paper elements for the steampunk pieces 

Considering that this started out as a plain wooden box, I think the transformation is pretty amazing; how it looks like a rock bursting open with all sorts of steampunk-ish stuff pouring out.

DecoArt products are easy to use and there is no limit to what you can create simply by manipulating acrylic paints and other mediums to become what you envision in your head!

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you can make some time for yourself to day to play!


Monday, February 23, 2015


Happy Monday Morning Everybody!!

I am doing a Snoopy Dance at my house this morning. 

LOOK at this incredible array of goodness I just received from the wonderful people at DecoArt!

It is cold and dreary outside...a PERFECT day to be in the craft room; experimenting and playing with my new goodies!  

First creation...something using Andy Skinner's techniques.  
Oh boy!  I can't wait to get started!  

Here's wishing you all a creative day!

Saturday, February 14, 2015


Happy Valentine's Day everyone!  I hope that you're having a lovely day and are able to share it with those you love.
It's challenge number 22 over at Linda Ledbetter's Compendium of Curiosities III Challenges.  Our focus is on all things Tim Holtz; his products and his techniques.  This challenge is more of a product challenge although there is a bit of technique in using Tim's Dimensional Cutting Pad.  So turn to page 62 in your Compendium of Curiosities III book and check out it out.  The book does not go into detail about exactly how to load the Dimensional Cutting Pad but the packaging does have illustrations. But ...

In doing this project, I ALMOST royally screwed up my cutting pad and probably would have messed up my Vagabond, too so I feel compelled to say a little something about the cutting process with the Dimensional Cutting Pad. When you are using the pad to die cut your piece, you DO NOT have to use another plastic piece on top of the Dimensional Cutting Pad.  It serves as the top plastic piece to cover the die cut and the cardstock. The packaging shows this but I almost missed that important little tidbit. 

I will also share the steps with you that I did in creating my whimsical Valentine-ish altered art journal pages using Tim's Dimensional Cutting Pad and his adorable new Crazy Birds stamps.  I just got them and have been dying to make something with them.
Here are my finished altered art journal pages.  You can see the three teal-ish hearts that I die cut using Tim's Dimensional Cutting Pad.
I say "altered" art journal pages because they started out as this ... a soft cover paper children's book that was just sitting in a closet and really needing to be given a new life.  So these pages are the first of what will end up being an art journal.
I began by covering the pages first with white Gesso and a brayer. The brayer covered the pages pretty quickly and also left a little bit of texture to the surface.
Since this was going to be a "love" theme, I added just a touch of Victorian Velvet Distress Paint for a romantic touch on top of the wet gesso and worked it in with the brayer.
 I heat set that and then started adding on bits of this and that:  some torn papers (ledger page, dictionary text and egg images), a blue and white patterned napkin and cut out ephemera clock for background images.
All of these elements were glued in place using Matte Multi Medium underneath and then brushed over the pages to seal and hold these pieces in place. (Notice at this point you can still see some of the original page peeking through the gesso and paint? In the end, only little bits of that will remain visible).
I also recently received my new Tim Holtz Stencils and thought that particularly the Lace one would add more romance and fun to these pages.  So, with a palette knife, I mixed up a little of Wendy Vecchi's amazing White Embossing Paste with a little of her Red Geranium Archival Ink refill. 
Then I scraped the tinted Embossing Paste over the Lace Stencil in random places also providing more texture and layers to the pages.
To sort of "meld" everything together, I brushed over everything with a sort of white wash of white paint and water mixture. It softened the vibrant colors and seemed to bring everything into more harmony. And of course, I heat set between each layer. At this point, I laid the pages to the side and began working on my Crazy Birds and some of the other embellishments that I would use on the pages.
I stamped these two adorable little birds onto Specialty Stamping Paper using Jet Black Archival Ink and heat set them.  Then, using Tim's Detailer Water Brush, I colored them in using Peacock Feathers and Victorian Velvet Distress Inks on the bird on the left and Mustard Seed, Spiced Marmalade and Ripe Persimmon on the bird on the right. Finally, I "set" the colors by adding Antique Linen using an Ink Blending Tool over the tops of the birds.  I then fussy cut around the birds and set them to the side.
I die cut the hearts from Tim's Mini Hearts set onto a piece of white tissue paper that I had sprayed with some teal-ish spray and heat set. Then I glued that onto a piece of white watercolor paper using Matte Multi Medium and also brushed over the top to seal it. Once that was heat set dry, I followed the instructions for the Dimensional Cutting Pad and cut out the hearts. I love that they are not completely cut out.  Really neat dimension!  In the above photo, you can see the progression of the hearts as I marked around them with a black Stabilo pencil and then using Tim's Detailer Water Brush, created a shadow effect around the heart openings and along the edges of the teal-ish paper. As a final touch, I added a piece of vintage lace around each of the hearts using 1/8" Scor Tape.
Next I die cut two branches out of black cardstock (and reversed one of them) from Tim's Bird Branch die cut. I removed the bird from the branch on the right as that is where my Crazy Birds will be perched.  I glued the branches in place by brushing Matte Multi Medium directly onto the art journal pages, placing the branches and then brushing more Matte Multi Medium over them to glue them in place and seal them.

Next, using Jet Black Archival Ink, I began randomly stamping some heart images from Dina Wakley's Collaged Hearts stamp set. I love her very "artsy" hearts ... perfect for art journaling!  Everything was heat set and then time to start putting all of the embellishments in place on the pages.
I glued the three dimensional hearts onto the art journal pages using Glossy Accents. I love how they add even more depth to the already multi layered pages.
I added some black "sketching lines" around some of the images ... here around the clock.
The Crazy Birds were glued in place on the branch with Glossy Accents and then I added the sketching lines around them. I love the whimsical quality the sketching lines add.
And here are more sketching lines around a wonderful sentiment also from Dina Wakley's Collaged Hearts stamp set. 
With Tim's Detailer Water Brush, I colored in the stamped hearts using a wash of Barn Door and water to give the hearts a little more "pop".  I actually love these finished pages and can't wait to see how the rest of this children's book finishes out.

There is something very FREEING about not having a clue what you are going to make out of something and just start adding gesso and paint and "stuff" and gluing it on with Matte Medium and blending and washing and ending up with a very cool truly mixed media background!!  You should try it and see what I mean!!

Now it's YOUR turn to use Tim's Dimensional Cutting Pad and create something fun to enter our challenge.  If you are chosen as one of our TWO lucky winners, you will receive either a very generous $25.00 gift certificate from ...


(Click on the logo above to be whisked away to Linda Coughlin's fabulous online shop)
On top of that, she is a SUPER NICE person and wouldn't you rather do business with super nice people???

Speaking of super nice people ... our other wonderful prize package is from two of THE NICEST guys with huge hearts; Tim and Mario. They sent so many fabulous Tim products to Linda Ledbetter to divide up and give away during our challenges.  We can't thank them enough for their generosity!

So come join us!  Good luck!