Saturday, August 28, 2010


Okay, so we all know that Tim Holtz Masks, Ideaology, Alterations and Grungeboard items are nothing short of genius! We use them all the time to embellish tags, scrapbook pages and altered pieces. Have you ever thought about the possibilities of using them say.............on a T-shirt?!?!

Here is an easy step by step tutorial on how to make a really cool altered shirt. I will warn you though, it's addicting! With each new shirt comes a cooler idea or a new element you will think of to add to your design.


The designs are as endless as your imagination will take you!

Begin by assembling all of your supplies:
  • A 100% cotton T-shirt: dark colors work the best, especially black

  • A shirt form or something to lay in between the front and back layers of your shirt

  • A work surface that will tolerate bleach

  • All of the Tim stuff you can get your hands on to use as "masks". Actually, you can use anything that lays fairly flat and will tolerate bleach and vinegar. I am partial to Tim's pieces because they work so perfectly.

  • Laces with larger patterns, large netting, buttons with big holes, plastic and/or metal objects, chains and all sorts of other things will work.

You will also need straight bleach and straight vinegar (I use white vinegar), spray bottles set to the mist setting and a bowl with water in it. You will see why the water bowl is important soon.

Working on a bleach tolerant surface, place the shirt form or some sort of barrier between the front and back of the shirt. (This will keep the bleach from soaking through to the back). Lay the shirt flat on the work surface and lay out your design. I usually lay the large netting down first then place the other elements over the top of it. You can also "build" mini designs within your layout. An example of this is the butterfly. It consists of a rectangular plate from Tim's Ornate Plates, wings from his Grungeboard Elements, a small game spinner from his Ideaology Game Spinners, and an artist's pen point for the head of the butterfly. Another example of a mini design can be seen on the upper left shoulder. I have combined the Filmstrip Frames from Tim's Alterations with the star, crown and Fleur D' Les from Tim's Ideaology Adornments. Here is the layout of my "Imagine Shirt". Except for the lace, netting, artist's pen point and two little clock hands, this entire layout is Tim Holtz' pieces.

If you want to add what I call "starbursts" to your shirt, simply gather up material and wrap a rubber band around it to secure it in place. The folds will produce some really cool effects after they are sprayed.

Once you are happy with your design and you are sure it is laying as flat as possible, get your bleach spray bottle. Hold it approximately 12 to 14 inches away from the shirt and lightly spray directly down over the elements. You don't need to saturate it...just a light mist. Within a few seconds, you will begin to see the bleach reacting on the shirt. If you want areas on the shirt to remain black, don't spray there. But, remember, in order to achieve a mask effect,
you have to spray bleach around the elements laid out.

If you want larger blotches on the shirt, hold the spray nozzle over that area and gently pull back on the trigger of the bottle, letting the bleach trickle out of the spray nozzle onto the shirt. Some shirts turn brownish, some turn just depends on the shirt. The end result will still be a slightly different color than what you think it will be.

When you are happy with your bleach effect, begin taking the elements off of the shirt and place them into the bowl of water to rinse them off. I do not put my Grungeboard into the water to soak but I do swish it in the water to rinse it off and then I lay it to the side to dry. (I have used my Grungeboard pieces to make lots of shirts and they are still as good as new! That stuff is amazing!!!) Remove all elements from the shirt. This picture shows you how the design will appear as you are taking the elements off of the shirt.

Here is the shirt with all of the elements removed. Lightly spray the front completely with vinegar. This stops the bleaching action. If you do not want to bleach the back of the shirt, remove it from the shirt form and lay it out to dry for a few minutes.

If you want to bleach out the back of the shirt, turn the shirt over......

Repeat the process you did on the front of the shirt. On this shirt, I just wanted some netting and some blotches on the back of the shirt.

I laid out the netting, lightly sprayed the back with bleach-leaving some areas to be blacker than others, dribbled bleach to make some blotches, let the bleach begin to work, removed the netting and when I was happy with the bleach effect, I lightly sprayed the back with vinegar to stop the bleaching action. I removed it from the shirt form and laid it out to dry for a few minutes.

Here is the back of my shirt.

Once you are finished with making your shirt, allow it to dry for a short time; maybe as little as 15 or 20 minutes. Then, throw it in the washing machine with like colors or other shirts if you make several. Wash as you normally would and dry as you normally would.

Your new creation is ready to wear and believe me, you WILL receive lots of compliments and people asking "Where did you get that shirt?"

Here is my finished "Imagine" shirt.

Have fun!!!! Email me pictures of the shirts you create! I would LOVE to see them!!!

Friday, August 20, 2010


This vintagey, edgey Halloween book has ghosts and goblins and a spooky old witch that is full of surprises! She actually becomes a 3D display!

Even "The Raven" stops by for a spooky visit!

The book is 8 pages of fun filled Halloween nostalgia, pull outs and some pretty cool techniques! But, it's not just another book! It can set upright and opened out so that all sides can be seen at the same time! Definitely a wonderful Halloween decoration...and you made it yourself!

Here are a few "sneak peeks"

This picture will give you an idea of what your finished book will look like. The witch stick pulls out of the "Witch Hazel" bottle. The ouija board lifts up to reveal a picture of "the lost Lenore".
There are fun little pullouts and surprises on every page!
"The Witching Hour" is 12" high and 6" wide and made from heavy chipboard. Using the spiral binding gives the support needed for the book to stand up and when the pages are spread out, you have a wonderful Halloween display!

Edgar Allen Poe laments over his lost love, Lenore while "The Raven" quoths, "Nevermore!"

The Goblins Will Get You If You Don't Watch Out!

Cemetaries Don't Have To Be Spooky!

What's A Halloween Book Without A Witch? Only...She's Got A Surprise!


Classes will be held October 2nd and October 9th, 2010. Vicki Conquest of "Conquest Keepsakes" will be hosting the first class in her new classroom area. The cost of the class is $45. This will be an all day class. The day of class, you will receive a "The Witching Hour" kit featuring all of the images, vintage photos, and all other ribbons, trims, etc. to completely finish out your book.

You will also receive a detailed instruction sheet with step by step instructions and pictures. I will be teaching the class and giving personalized help where needed. A small class list of supplies and all other information will be provided to you upon registration.

Email me now for more information and to reserve your spot.

Classes are already filling up and the class sizes are limited because this is a labor intensive class and I want to be sure to give personalized attention! You will love this book!

Experience "The Witching Hour" for yourself!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

It has been a while since I've posted but that doesn't mean that I haven't been busy! I completed a new studio in my home in July of 2009 and I have really given it a work out!
I LOVE my studio!
A lot of people have asked me to post some of my work. So today, I am doing that. I love art in all forms but my favorite style is undoubtedly the vintage, heirloom and nostalgic.
In my opinion, the absolute "Guru" of this style is the incredibly talented artistic designer and product developer, Tim Holtz. Check out his website and blog at
One of the top things on my "bucket list" is to have the amazing opportunity to meet and be taught by Tim someday. Those wonderfully creative people who have attended Ranger U and have been selected to be on his design team are living my dream. :)
Not everything I do is nostalgic, heirloom or vintage but when it is, I draw from my wonderfully simple "Normal Rockwellish" childhood. I love to revisit the sights, smells, sounds and memories of events and people living and passed on that fill my mind and heart.
We've all gone to flea markets and see something that instantly conjures up a memory of something familiar....and it makes us smile. I love it when someone picks up a piece that I have created and starts talking about their family or their memories. To me, THAT is what vintage, heirloom and nostalgic art is truly about.
I also love altered art and the edgey grunge look. That is so much fun to explore.
So, as you spend a bit of your day looking at my creations, I hope it brings a smile and inspires you in some way. Have a wonderful day and take time to PLAY and CREATE!! It's "soul" food!

These "Family Blocks" are one of my most favorite things I have done. The first block begins with my husband's and my grandparents and great grandparents. The "F" block is devoted to my parents. The "A" block is all about my husband's parents. The "M" block is my husband's and my block. The "I" block is our son and his wife's block. The "L" block is our daughter and her husband's block. The "Y" block is devoted to our grandchildren. Each block is full of pull outs, fold outs, pocket and all sorts of surprise elements for adding several pictures on every side. I have adorned the blocks with vintage laces, little "attic flowers" I have made from old laces, organza, pearls, netting, etc. There are old buttons and lots of metal elements on the blocks as well. Tim Holtz' Ideaology line is full of little negative film strip, wonderful little knobs, metal corners, and all sorts of other little metal embellishments that are perfect for pieces like this. The FAMILY letters on the front of each block are chipboard but brushed with Magic Metallics to make them look metallic and also aged. The blocks are a labor of love and definitely do what I hoped that would do. When people see them, they have to pick them up and study them. They explore all the pull outs and pockets ... and again, it sparks stories about their families. LOVE it!! Pictured are some of the sides of the blocks...but it is had to capture all the little special touches given to each side. They are really meant to be picked up and explored.

I have seen books online called "Squash Books" or "Explosion Books" and they fascinated me. However the ones I always saw were made with bright colors and cute papers. Being the vintage, nostalgic nut that I am, I decided to make my own version of this book. The picture on the front is actually taken from a board mounted picture of my great grandmother when she was a young woman. Don't you love the big hats and poofy dresses? I love the old house in the distance, too. I selected this picture for the cover of my book and stamped "GENERATIONS" on it because the photos inside are of the blessed women in my life that spans 5 generations. Here are a few pictures from this book.

I made this "Christmas Memories" book a few years ago for my brother who was battling a rare form of cancer at the time. He was afraid that that Christmas would be his last. My heart was breaking for him. I decided to make a very special book for him beginning with his first Christmas and ending with the most recent Christmases I had pictures of. Fortunately my sweet parents always took and saved lots of pictures. My brother cried when he opened it. As I watched him study the pictures and gently run his fingers over pictures of himself as a small boy on Christmas morning, I cried too. We talked for a long time about our Christmases through the years. He said it was one of the most precious gifts he'd ever received. I am thankful that my brother is still here and doing very well. I love the nostalgic art style because of the memories and conversations it always seems to spark. Here are a few pages from his book.

When our first grandchild was born, it inspired me to make a picture frame for our son holding our precious little grandson, Cooper. And of course, my husband, Vic now affectionately known as "Papa" had to have a frame as well.

I received the sweetest Powerpoint presentation from a friend on email. It was a poem of sorts written as if elderly parents were talking to their children about being patient with them as they grew older and less able to take care of themselves. The words so moved me that I created a book filled with pockets so that I could put pictures of my parents and grandparents on the pages with those wonderful sentiments. The pockets would allow me to move the pictures around or add to pages whenever I wanted to. Whenever someone saw the book, they could relate to the words and wanted a book of their own. It was a wonderfully successful class. The part I loved the best was hearing the stories everyone shared with each other as they created their books. Pictured here is the cover of the book and a few of the pages from it.

My "Bird Box" was born out of my love of birds and anything vintage looking.
So, I combined the two.