Saturday, April 25, 2015


Hello everyone and welcome back to my blog for another fun challenge at Compendium of Curiosities III.  We are hosted by the lovely Linda Ledbetter and this challenge focuses on the many wonderful products and techniques featured Tim Holtz' Compendium of Curiosities III book.

Turn to page 61 in your books and you will find the topic of this challenge ... Embossing Diffusers!  There are two sets of these; arches, squares and rectangles are in one set. Ovals and circles are in the other set.  For my project, I chose the ovals set.

What I have created could easily be used on the front of a card, an art journal, an altered book or incorporated into a mixed media piece, to name a few options. I will probably end up  using it on the cover of an altered book.  This was an easy project to create and I will happily show you how I did it.

I began with a 5 1/2" x 4 1/2" piece of plain chipboard that I covered with an adhesive Foil Sheet.  

Then using Tim's Postcard Texture Fade embossing folder, I ran it through my Vagabond, using the Embossing Diffuser technique to create the embossed oval in my embossed design. While I cannot actually tell you how I did this technique, HERE is a video of Tim demonstrating the Embossing Diffuser. I am sharing this video with you because I think if this is the first time you've attempted to use the Embossing Diffusers, it might be a bit confusing.

One word of caution I would like to share with you is that when you are using the Embossing Diffuser, THE DIFFUSER PLATE is your top embossing plate so you DO NOT use another top plate on top of the Embossing Diffuser when attempting to run it through your die cut machine. I was a bit confused about that the first time I used the diffusers.  So, if in doubt, be sure to check out the video link above.  It will make things crystal clear.  Okay, back to the project....

After creating my diffused, embossed image, I painted over the surface with Yellow Ochre Acrylic Paint and let it dry.  I added a layer of Matter Multi Medium to protect the color for whatever I decided to use next. (I am one of those crafters that does not plan out my work ahead of time, I just go with it when I sit down at my work table). 

Next I added a generous layer of crackle glaze and let it air dry. 

Once that was dry, I added a layer of Brown Antiquing Cream, letting it get down into the cracks and around my "post card" embossed lettering.  While it was still wet, I wiped away the excess cream leaving a beautiful aged looking, crackled piece.  

Next to subtly highlight the raised lettering, I added some Copper and then Turquoise Metallic Lustre using my fingers and a Qtip.  I then used a paper towel to buff the letters, leaving a beautiful vintage shine. 

For the inside of my embossed oval, I created a really fun piece using Golden Soft Gel (Matte).  I like to call this technique making a "skin".  I love the "ghost-like" quality that can be achieved from this technique.  It's great for vintage work.

Here are the steps in creating a "skin".

1. Working on your computer, find a vintage photograph and size it to fit your project. In this case, my image is 4 1/2" x 2 1/2". 

2. Print the image or images using an ink jet printer using inexpensive copy paper.  
Brush over the image or images using Golden's Soft Gel (Matte). First in one direction - let's say vertically. Let it air dry. The soft gel will dry clear.
3. Repeat step 2 only brush on the soft gel in the opposite direction from your first layer. So in this case, the second coat would be brushed on horizontally.  Let it air dry.  Repeat this step at least one more time, alternating the direction you brush on the Golden Soft Gel (Matte). **Note - I usually do 3 to 4 layers.

4. When the Golden Soft Gel (Matte) is completely dry, either begin spritzing the paper side of the image with water or let the image soak in water for about 30 seconds. 

 5. Using your finger, gently begin rubbing away the paper, leaving the design transferred onto the Soft Gel (Matte). Completely remove the paper, rewetting the surface as you are gently rubbing off the paper. Set the image aside to air dry.

6. Usually a sort of white "fuzz" will reappear on the image.  This is paper pulp that still remains behind. Repeat step 5 and set the image aside to dry again. **Note - if little bits of the paper pulp still remain on the image after completing this step, it is okay because when the image is applied to the project using a clear drying liquid adhesive, the paper pulp will disappear. 

7. Decide on a background you want the skin to be glued to. In the photo above, I used a scrap piece of 7 Gypsies paper for my background. For the photograph I used on my Embossing Diffuser piece, I used a page from an old hymnal because I loved the musical notes and lyrics showing through.

8. Brush a clear drying liquid glue onto the surface of your background. In this case, I used Matte Medium.  Also brush a light coat of the clear drying liquid adhesive to the back of the "skin" and lay it in place on the background. **Note - be careful on the placement of your skin. You do not want the background to distort the face. As an example, you would not want a musical note to block an eye.
Brush over the entire piece with Matte Medium (not only a clear drying glue but also an excellent sealer).

9. Embellish the "skin" or leave it with no further embellishments, depends on the project and your personal taste.

Once the "skin" was in place, I added a piece of vintage lace around the edges using Glossy Accents to glue it in place.  Again, Glossy Accents dries clear but it does have a glossy finish, so be careful of that if you won't want any glossy remnants to show on your vintage skin!

Next I added tiny cream pearls to my beautiful vintage lady's headband and the sentiment from Tim Holtz' new Life Quotes stamp set.  I stamped it on Manila cardstock using Jet Black Archival Ink.  I left a small border to contrast the sentiment better against the vintage skin and musical background. 

I created some sweet little dimensional flowers using Tim Holtz' Tattered Floral Garden die cut and stacked them using Long Fasteners. They were glued in place and I added the dainty cream pearls to the centers of each flower and also to every point on the vintage lace.  This was all done with Glossy Accents. 

I added a distressed piece of a lacy doily to one side of the piece. I love the soft feminine quality it added to the piece plus it sort of helped balance out the large oval and the flowers on the left side.

Finally, after I thought I was finished, I decided that my piece needed just one more thing ... Tim's metal Ideaology Corners.  So, I added some Turquoise Metallic Lustre to each Copper Corner and then attached them in place using a touch of Glossy Accents underneath the corners and some pliers to squeeze the under tabs to hold the corners in place.

Now that you've seen my project, please be sure to check out the other lovely projects created just for you by the Curiosity Crew on the Compendium of Curiosities III Challenge BlogWhy not join us over at the challenge by creating a lovely diffused embossed piece of your own?  Just follow our few simple rules and enter the challenge.

You could be one of two winners!  That's right TWO winners each challenge!

A prize is donated every other challenge by our lovely friends over at Inspiration Emporium!  They generously donate a $50 gift certificate to be spent at their online store.

The other prize ... or should I say PRIZES to be given away are donated by Tim and Mario.  These sweet guys have provided us with a ton of Tim Holtz Products to be awarded to the winner of the Curiosity Crew's choice ... and let me tell you, THAT is not an easy decision for us to make with so many really wonderful entries each week.

Thank you to all of our fabulous sponsors for their generosity!!

I hope you'll join us for this challenge!  Good luck!

Saturday, April 11, 2015


Happy Saturday everybody!  
Welcome to my blog and the next in our series of challenges  at the Compendium of Curiosities III Challenges hosted by the lovely and talented Linda Ledbetter. 

This is number 26 on our way to a total of 34 challenges based on Tim Holtz' Compendium of Curiosities III book featuring his products and all sorts of techniques and applications.

This challenge is a technique challenge called "Smudge Stamping".  Since this is a technique challenge, I cannot share the steps in the process with you but if you'll turn to page 42 in your book, you will find pictures and the step by step process for Smudge Stamping.

Now, I CAN share my vintage tag with you, the colors I used, the products I used and as much about the creation of the tag as I can.  Since I wanted to really let this Smudge Stamping technique be the focus of my tag, I did not add a lot of dimension and elements to it. And while this feels sort of "naked" to me because I really like to add lots of detail to my work, there is something I really love about the simplicity of this tag.

Here is my finished Smudge Printing tag. 

I did some masking on the top of the tag, added color to the smudge stamped lady's face and I also combined Distress Inks on the Union Jack Flag before smudging it.  So, maybe this will give you some ideas on how you can add some interest to the Smudge Stamping technique.  

I began with a #10 or large Manila Tag. I stamped this valance from Tim's Classics #18 stamp set onto a couple of tags to experiment with.  I used Fired Brick and Aged Mahogany to ink the stamp.  Then I used the excess ink to print as an additional image that I cut out and used as a mask. Of course I did Tim's smudge stamp technique on the valance underneath this mask. 

Next I stamped this beautiful face from Tim's Classic #5 stamp set (using Black Soot Distress Ink) right below the masked valance. I used the same smudge stamping technique but one had more ink on the stamp that the other.

I stamped "LONDON" horizontally underneath the neck using Worn Lipstick Distress Ink.

For the Union Jack (from Tim's From Paris to London stamp set), I wanted to combine blue and red to the flag.  So, instead of using a Distress Ink Pad, I used the Distress Ink Markers to color the stamp.  Then I used Tim's smudge stamping technique when placing the Union Jack under "LONDON". 

Next I stamped Big Ben from Tim's London Sights stamp set in Black Soot and did Tim's smudge stamp technique on it as well. I gave "LONDON" a distinct outline with a black permanent marker and then added some shadowing with a graphite pencil and water brush.  After I finished it, I thought it also looked like that famous London fog we often hear about.  I also added "life is good" from Tim's Simple Sayings stamp set, stamped on Manila scrap and outlined in black underneath her chin to add more contrast to the tag.

I used some colored pencils to give color to the face and I added a hint of grey to Big Ben.
I also added some distressing around the perimeter of the tag using first Gathered Twigs and then Black Soot Distress Inks.

Here is a photograph of the basic tag with the smudge stamping completed.  I like how it shows the smudge stamping technique but it was screaming for just a few more elements to give it more "umph".  

So ... I added a narrow strip of Tim's Harlequin Tissue Tape along the right side of the tag and a couple of pieces of vintage lace to the bottom of the tag to give it a more finished look. The laces also provided some extra length to the tag so I could add the postage stamps and the Foot Guard to offset Big Ben at the top of the tag. I also stamped "enjoy the journey" from Tim's Simple Sayings stamp set across the Union Jack using Jet Black Archival Ink.

Next I wanted to add some vintage ribbon at the top of the tag and I wanted it to be in the colors of the tag: red, blue and cream.  So, beginning with Faded Jeans Distress Ink, I sandwiched the ribbon in between my non stick craft sheet and the ink pad and pulled the ribbon through.  I added a spritz of water until the color was totally absorbed into the ribbon.  I repeated this process for the Worn Lipstick (red) and Antique Linen (cream) ribbon strips - wiping up the ink on the craft sheet in between each use of ink pads. Then I gently crinkled up the ribbon and heat set it. 

I tied the bow to the top of the tag and that finished it off nicely, pulling all of the colors together.

So, that is my smudge stamping technique tag...easy and fun!  Now it's YOUR turn to create something and enter our Compendium of Curiosities III challenge. 

You could win one of two fabulous prizes donated by the Funkie Junkie Boutique and Tim and Mario.  Want to know what you can win????

Linda Coughlin of the Funkie Junkie Boutique has donated a $25.00 gift certificate to use in her online store.  Linda is a great lady and offers a huge array of products.  Thank you, Linda!

And before this latest edition of The Compendium of Curiosities Challenges started, Tim and Mario graciously donated A LOT of Tim Holtz products to be given as prizes.  A huge thank you to Tim and Mario as well!  

Each challenge, two lucky winners are awarded either a gift certificate from one of our two online sponsors or a generous prize package full of goodies from Tim and Mario.  Great prizes and great fun in playing along with us!

Good luck!