Thursday, July 23, 2015


It's Thursday and time for Part Two of unraveling the mysteries of 
DecoArt's Media Crackle Family:  Glaze, Paint and Paste.

If you missed Part One, a tutorial on "Faux Vintage and Crackled and Aged Glass", click HERE to be taken to that tutorial.

Here is a "sneak peek" of Part Two.  I have combined all of the DecoArt Crackle family to create this piece and show the differences in all three.  I'd be so pleased if you would head over to DecoART's Mixed Media Blog and have a look at this project and all of the amazing creations and tutorials that the Design Team has waiting for you there. And as always, if you'd like to leave a comment there and here, I always love hearing from my art friends and reading your comments.

I will leave you with this thought that I used on this piece.  It was pieced together from a Crafter's Workshop Stencil and it definitely rings true for Mixed Media Artists:

"Art is just another way of expressing our innermost thoughts, 

feelings and experiences on surfaces of all kinds."

Tuesday, July 21, 2015


Hello Friends!

Welcome to my blog.  I am excited to share what is the first of a two part tutorial 
for DecoArt Media Line Products.  

I invite you to join me as I explore the world of DecoArt Media Crackle products: Glaze, Paint and Paste.  What's the difference in them?  How do they work?  It's one thing to READ about them; it's quite another to actually SEE the difference.  

I've created a two part tutorial that will hopefully answer questions you might have about the three Crackles as well as sharing with you a pictorial tutorial on how to use all three of them on one project!  

On DecoArt's Mixed Media Blog, you will find Part One of this tutorial:  
a quick and easy way to create a very old, distressed discolored crackled glass technique using DecoArt Crackle Glaze and a few other DecoArt fabulous Media Line Products.

Creating faux vintage glass with DecoArt Media Line products, faux crackled glass with DecoArt

Hop on over to DecoArt's Mixed Media Blog for all of the details.

Then be sure to keep watching my blog and DecoArt's Mixed Media blog for Part Two of this Crackle project!

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, July 18, 2015


Hello blogging friends! I'm so glad that you've stopped by to see what's new at
 Creativity Is Contagious!

It's time for OUR NEXT TO LAST CHALLENGE at Linda Ledbetter's really fun and inspiring 
COMPENDIUM OF CURIOSITIES III CHALLENGES.  This is number 33 of 34.  Can you believe that we've already covered all but ONE of Tim Holtz' wonderful products or techniques that he's expounded on in his Compendium of Curiosities III book?  TIME FLIES!

The Curiosity Crew has some wonderful projects just waiting to share with you at the Compendium Challenge so be sure to check that out. This next to last challenge is a favorite of mine.  Turn to page 45 in your books and feast your eyes on "ALTERED SURFACES". 

I am really getting into manipulating acrylic paints. I totally LOVE that they can be super opaque or with a bit of water or another medium added in, they can be semi transparent to almost transparent.  You can get some amazing results using acrylic paints! 

ALTERED SURFACES is all about using Tim's Distress Paints to achieve some very cool effects; from a chipped metal look to aged and rusted ... whatever your heart desires.

tim holtz altered surfaces technique, altered vintage tobacco tin

For my project, I chose to alter the surfaces of some of Tim's wonderful Ideaology pieces.
This is a vintage tobacco can that I have transformed into a little vintage piece that could be used to hold ATC cards, a gift tin containing gift cards or just a little home decor piece. 

This piece is very special to me because the vintage photograph is of my father when he was a senior in high school.  He was a member of the ROTC squad and was a "crack rifleman" at the tender age of 18.  Pretty much right after this photograph was taken, my father entered the draft and served this country in the Pacific Theater during World War II.  A proud Veteran, I dedicate this piece to him.  I miss him and love him with all my heart.

Let's explore how this altered vintage tobacco tin came to be ...

I began with this vintage tin that I bought at a flea market for $2.50.  The paper behind it is from Tim Holtz' Destinations Paper Stash.  I used a section of this paper to cover the tin.  I used 1/4" Scor Tape around all sides and intermittently placed on the tin itself to hold the paper in place. 

Notice that the tin is a weathered silver color and already has some rust and aging on it.  But, I will transform it with the help of Tim's Distress and other Ranger and DecoArt products.

Here is the tin with the Destinations paper on it.  Nice but really boring and plain!  I brushed on a light coat of DecoArt's really wonderful Media Ultra Matte Varnish.  This sealer truly gives a soft, matte finish and I love the way it makes the surface feel. I added the Ultra Matte Varnish now so that if I decided to add paint or some other medium to the paper surface, I did not want it to soak into the paper.

In this photograph, you can see the before and after of Tim's Altered Surfaces technique (you will need to read the instructions in the book to see exactly HOW this is done).  On my tin, I've done some variations to the Altered Surfaces technique shown in the book.

I created trim for the top and bottom of my altered tin using these silver metal strips from Tim's Borders Industrial Stickers.  I used a combination of Crackled Pistachio, Rusty Hinge and Gathered Twigs Distress Paints to totally transform the surface from shiny silver to a weathered, rusted, patina metal look. 

I also employed this same technique on the exposed metal parts of the tobacco tin.  To give an even more patina look, I used a stippling brush to add extra Cracked Pistachio paint to areas of the trim and the altered metal surfaces.

What a difference! From a sort of rusted silver finish to this really lovely weathered antique gold, rusty patina look!  Now it was time to start adding my embellishments!

I had an ornate plate cut out of Grungeboard laying around.  It worked perfectly behind my Tim Holtz Industrial Stickers Frame.  I sized the photograph of my father and stuck it behind the already self adhesive metal sticker frame.  It has a nice antique brushed nickel color already.  So, I decided to sort of keep with that by covering the Grungeboard first with Brushed Pewter followed by Adirondak Pitch Black acrylic paint. It wasn't a perfect match but I was going to do A LOT more altering of the surface to this frame! 

Using basically the same paint colors (exchange Adirondak Espresso for Gathered Twigs acrylic paint), I totally transformed one of Tim's Typed Tokens.  If you look in the photograph, you can see that they are a brushed nickle color.  Compare the new and improved "aged, rusted and patina" look by altering the surface of the silver metal! Love it!

Here is the back side of my little altered frame made out of Grungeboard.  I am showing you this to further convince you just how much this altering surfaces technique using acrylic paints REALLY is amazing!  Here is the grungy PAPER surface ...

And here are two of the embellishments finished and ready to add to the altered tin.  Both altered using Tim's Altering Surfaces technique and the same acrylic paints shown above.  AMAZING TRANSFORMATION!!   I added two distressed Long Fasteners to the frame to give more of the impression that the frame is actually riveted into the altered tin. 

I also added a bit of DecoArt's Amazing Media Quinacridone Gold and Media Transparent Yellow Iron Oxide to both surfaces to give a more rusted, deep rich aged tone to the pieces to make them look even more metallic. I LOVE how they turned out!  

Inside of the frame, to protect the photograph, I first brushed a light matte varnish over the copy paper photograph to seal it.  I heat set that dry and then added a light coat of DecoArt's Media Crackle Glaze over the photograph.  


Once the DecoArt Crackle Glaze air dried, I added a light wash of water and DecoArt Media Transparent Yellow Iron Oxide to the perimeter of the frame to give it a more aged look.  I love the deep, rich sepia tones the wash added to the photograph.  You can actually see the crackling in the photograph.  Really a GREAT vintage look!

I used the same altering techniques to alter Tim's Heart Charms that originally come in the brushed nickle finish to match my other altered Ideaology pieces. There are several images of paper hearts to chose from that comes with the Heart Charms.  These fit in the metal heart and then are covered with a clear cabochon that no only seals and protects the paper heart but magnifies the image.  I LOVE these sweet little charms!  

In the photograph above, you can see how I altered the more white paper surface to look more aged and weathered ... like the metal heart it is encapsulated in. To do this, I simply brushed a touch of the DecoArt Media Transparent Yellow Iron Oxide wash to the surface of the paper heart and kept adding layers of it plus a touch of an Acrylic Paint Espresso wash just around the edges.  I heat set it, added the self adhesive cabochon heart over it and instant aging! 

I like things that dangle and move.  So I decided to take this Ideaology Memo Pin and bend over to create something I could clip onto my altered tin that could serve as a charm holder as well.  The Memo Pin on the left has been bent to clip onto my altered tin.  The pin on the right is what they originally look like.

Another fun way to alter a surface that is not part of this technique, is to use Distress Stains! 
 Remember I had previously sealed the paper surface with a coat of DecoArt Media Ultra-Matte Varnish so that I could add more layers.  I carefully sprayed some Walnut Stain Distress Ink Spray onto the paper to give it an even more interesting aged look.  If I had not liked my spray, I could have easily wiped it off because I had sealed my paper.  But, I LOVED the randomness of the splatter. I did this randomly over the entire surface of the paper on the tin.  I really like the character that the spray adds and it is a more convincing aged look!

Here is a closeup look at my charms assemblage hanging from the altered tin.  These consist of Tim's Type Charms (at the top), his Ideaology Typed Token, and finally Tim's Heart Charm.  All are joined together, hanging from the Memo Pin by one of Tim's Wire Pins and small Jump Rings to form the chains.  All metal pieces were altered using the acrylic paints and Tim's altered surfaces technique.

Here is a closeup of the totally transformed silver top of the can and the silver trim into the rusted, patina finish.

Here is the finished rusty frame.  I added "1942", the year this photograph was taken to the frame using Tim's Label Letters that were glued onto a piece of distressed cardstock and cut out, leaving just a tiny border around the numbers.  Using Glossy Accents, I glued the numbers to the frame. 

Here is the back side of the tin with the added Walnut Stain spray and the very faux weathered, rusted and patina finish to the lid.

   A simple project to do but what a keepsake it can be ... or a great gift idea to really personalize a gift card or ATC holder for a friend or loved one!

Thanks so much for joining me on this creative journey of the Altered Surfaces tin!

Now it's YOUR turn to create something wonderful using the Altered Surfaces technique and enter our COMPENDIUM OF CURIOSITIES III CHALLENGE.

Our sponsors this week are the lovely folks at Inspiration Emporium.  They have been so generous throughout our entire challenge by donating a $50.00 gift certificate with each of their sponsor weeks.  A huge "THANK YOU" to them!  You can purchase all of Tim's wonderful products at their wonderful online store!

And of course, Tim and Mario donated a mountain of Tim's amazing products to be divided up and given away with every challenge.  "THANK YOU" doesn't seem enough to say to these two super sweet guys.  They are amazing! 

So, join us today and share your amazing art with everyone in our fun little community of Tim Holtz technique and product lovers!

And also ... as a reminder, many of the Curiosity Crew will be traveling to COSTA RICA in September of 2016 with the inspiring Jim West and his fabulous Craft Tours!  We will calling ourselves "THE SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PAINTS"
CLICK ON THE PHOTOGRAPH ABOVE to be taken to the Craftour website for more details. 

Good luck with this challenge's Altered Surfaces! 

Saturday, July 4, 2015


Happy 4th of July to all of my American friends! 
I hope you all have a safe holiday spent with family and friends.

The Curiosity Crew is out with another challenge from Tim Holtz' fabulous Compendium of Curiosities III Book. If you have been following along with our
Compendium of Curiosities III Challengeyou know this is number 32 of 34 challenges.  My goodness ... time is FLYING!

We've had so much fun sharing Tim's techniques and products with you and putting our own spin on each challenge.  And the entries we've been receiving are really amazing!  So much thought and time has gone into your creations and I speak the truth when I say that often we REALLY have a difficult time picking a Curiosity Crew Winner.  THANK EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU for your participation and for your uplifting comments!

Let's continue to ramp it up this challenge with something really original and creative!!

Turn to page 59 in your Compendium of Curiosities III books and check out Frosted Film.  This is more of a product challenge than a technique challenge but if you follow along in Tim's book, you will see that he didn't just slap the Frosted Film on something and call it "done".  There is a bit of technique to it...even if you use a different substrate than Tim did with the Frosted Film.  That's all I'm saying about that ...  

I have to admit that this challenge didn't finish out anywhere near the way I started.  I'll show you photos at the end of this post as to how I started out and what I created using the Frosted Film.  I like them but somewhere between the daisies and starting to work on the canvas, I switched gears and went from whimsical to vintage.  I love the end results and I'll use the Frosted Film daisies on something else.

sweet vintage canvas with tim holtz die cut window, vintage buttons, frosted film window

Here is my finished 5"x7" Burlap Tim Holtz Canvas.

I began by cutting some scrap Tim Holtz Wallflower cardstock into squares and rectangles and added them to the canvas using DecoArt's wonderful Media Matte Medium.  I heat set them to dry. 

Next I brushed on a light coat of White Gesso, heat set that and added a layer of Scattered Straw Distress Paint (heat set to dry). 

To add more color, I randomly added some Abandoned Coral followed by Cracked Pistachio Distress Paints.  Heat set to dry. 

To add more texture and dimension, I used some really dependable DecoArt Media Modeling Paste through Tim Holtz' Brick Stencil.  I gently heat set the Modeling Paste and allowed it to finish drying naturally.  That only took about 30 minutes.

To give the bricks more dimension, I lightly brushed some Adirondak Terra Cotta Paint (mixed with a tiny bit of water) over them and blotted off the excess paint. After heat setting them, I used DecoArt's Media Titanium White Media Acrylic Paint to dry brush over the bricks.  It is amazing how much detail and dimension you can achieve by dry brushing!  Next I lightly did a little more dry brushing on some of the bricks and randomly around the edges of the canvas with DecoArt Media Media Burnt Umber Acrylic Paint.  Finally I swiped a little Picket Fence Distress Paint over some of the open areas and partially wiped it with a baby wipe.  Setting it to the side, I began working with Tim's Frosted Film.

I die cut Tim's Window and Window Box with Grungeboard.  I also die cut one of Tim's Pediments for the top of the window.  I die cut one window, two window boxes and three Pediments.  I glued the window boxes and Pediments together with Glossy Accents.

I swiped Antique Linen Distress Paint over all of the window surfaces and then I painted all of the surfaces with a mixture of  Mermaid Lagoon and Picket Fence Distress Paints (using a brush to get into all of the corners and cracks). After gently heat setting the window, I brushed on a layer of DecoArt's Crackle Medium and let it air dry. When that was complete, I added a light layer of DecoArt's Lace Chalk Paint and watched the crackling begin!  Like magic, the cracks appeared, giving my window that farmhouse aged look. I heat set the window and then began adding subtle color with Distress Inks.  Mermaid Lagoon provided the blue tones I was wanting to recapture on top of the predominantly soft white window while I wanted the Pediment and window box to be more blue. I distressed the edges with a bit of Vintage Photo followed by Gathered Twigs Distress Ink along the edges.  Acrylic paints and Distress Inks work so well together! Don't be afraid to combine them on your art pieces! 

Next I die cut a beautiful little delicate vine and flowers called "Lavish Branch" from Memory Box.  I used a fairly deep green cardstock and then lightened it by lightly swiping my Picket Fence Distress Paint over it and completely covering the little flowers with white paint.  Using Mustard Seed and Abandoned Coral Distress Paint, I painted the little flowers and later added tiny pearls to the centers using Glossy Accents.

I found a sweet little vintage girl in my folders of vintage children photos and sized her to fit my window, positioning her so that her sweet little face would not be covered up with the window panes. I placed the Frosted Film over her and added Tattered Flowers and a touch of Gathered Twigs at the edge of the photograph to the film then using 1/4" Scor Tape (double sided tape), I glued the "window" in place behind the die cut window.

I cut the vines apart and glued them in place on my window box using Glossy Accents.  Then I added some more dimensional roses that I had in my stash.

Finally I added some pop dots to make the window box stand out and glued the window box in place at the bottom of the window.  Then I glued the Pediment in place at the top of the window.

I stamped "be kind of heart" a wonderful sentiment from Wendy Vecchi's My Kind of Art stamp set onto a piece of a muslin type frayed ribbon. I colored in the letters using my Broken China fine point side on the Distress Marker.  The ribbon is glued in place using 1/2" Scor Tape.

Originally I was going to place the window in the center of the canvas but I started fooling around with a layout and came up with the idea to add a piece of vintage lace. I loved the lace on the right side of the canvas. So I moved the window to the side. Next I found my sweet little vintage buttons, a heart charm and the two filigree corners.  I sewed the buttons and heart charm onto the lace before I glued it in place. 

Speaking of the beautiful little heart charm and the filagree corners ... I bought these from our sponsor for this challenge ... The Funkie Junkie Boutique!  Linda Coughlin is the owner and her store has tons a very cool little embellishments, laces and those "different" things that make your art projects so much more personalized.  She's also got a big FOURTH OF JULY SALE going on right now so be sure to check her out!

I glued the lace in place using three strips of 1/8" Scor Tape and then glued the filigree corners in place using Glossy Accents.  I LOVE the way it gives such a soft, shabby chic vintage feeling to the canvas. 

Finally, I glued one of Tim's heart charms onto a filigree butterfly, added some thin wire antenna and glued it in place on the upper left of the window.  The perfect finishing touch!

Here is a close up of the detail and the dimension of this sweet crackled window. If you look really closely, you can see the clear frosty film that represents the window panes. I love the softness of the "glass" panes and how sweet this window and window box turned out.

Now ... I will quickly show you how this Frosted Film Project started out ...

Using Matte Medium, I glued some of Tim's Terminology Tissue Wrap onto a piece of heavy white cardstock.  Once that was dry, I sprayed Dyan Reaveley's Lemon Zest and a bit of Pure Sunshine Dylusions sprays over the Tissue Wrap and heat set it. 

Next I added the Frosted Film over the sprayed Tissue Wrap and die cut the daises from Tim's Tattered Florals die cut.  

Using a text stamp, I stamped on the back side of the daisies that had also be sprayed with the Dylusions sprays.  I gathered three daisies together with a long fastener and curled the petals using the small end of a paint brush handle.  I DISCOVERED THAT WHEN I HEAT SET THE FROSTED FILM, IT ALSO BEGAN TO CURL! 

Next I had some little Paper Clay faces that I had molded and dried.  So, I painted three of the faces and used them as the centers of the daisies.  

Then I added Black Diamond Stickles to the edges of the petals.  Looking back, I probably should have done the Stickles on each of the daisies while they were flat and before I gathered them together.  Live and learn, I guess.  Anyway ... I was going to use these daisies underneath my die cut window but once I began working on the canvas and the window, the daisies just weren't going to work anymore ... too large, too bright and too whimsical.  But, as I said earlier, I will use them on something else.

For this challenge, I really loved the way this canvas turned out and it will definitely have a place on my studio wall.

Now it's your turn to turn to pull out the Frosted Film and make something wonderful for our challenge.  There are only three challenges left (including this one)!  

Linda Coughlin of THE FUNKIE JUNKIE BOUTIQUE has graciously donated a $25.00 gift certificate throughout our entire Compendium of Curiosities III Challenges along with the wonderful people at Inspiration Emporium.  THANK YOU LINDA!

And Tim and Mario have also so generously donated tons of Tim's products to be given away to one of our winners each challenge as well.  So, there are two opportunities each challenge for you to win a wonderful prize!  And you also get to share your art with all of the other wonderful artists who join us and not only share their work but support each other with wonderful comments!

I hope you'll join us!
Good luck!

Thursday, July 2, 2015


Hello Everyone!  Welcome back to my blog.  

There has been a sighting of the Man In The Moon!  From what I understand he's been spotted over at DecoArt's Mixed Media Blog

Created almost entirely from DecoArt's wonderful Media Line of products, this whimsical and very dimensional little fellow adorns the top of a "Cosmic Crackled Concoction".  

I have altered a ho hum, plain wooden box into a quirky, fun and functional storage place: perfect for housing my watercolor pencils or my art brushes.

I invite you to hop on over to the DecoArt Mixed Media Blog for a complete pictorial tutorial!  I'd love to hear your comments here and at DecoArt's blog. 

Thanks for stopping by.  Have a great weekend and remember to take some time to play!