Canvas: Hope is Never Lost

I’ve had this idea for a mixed media, steampunk-style canvas in my head for a while, since I bought a three-layered mechanical heart chipboard piece by Wycinanka. But I kept putting it off in favor of other projects. To be honest, sometimes I put something off for fear of ruining a project. Finally, last weekend, I sat down and decided to just do it. I need to learn to be brave when creating. And to not be afraid of messing something up.

Hope is Never Lost

I had recently purchased a set of three canvases that were 4 inches wide by 12 inches high. They’d be great for doing a triptych piece, but I wanted to use them separately. And it was the perfect size for my chipboard heart. I started by taking the Riveted stencil by the Crafter’s Workshop (6×6) and covering the whole canvas, including the sides, with modeling paste through the stencil. I also added some strips of drywall tape for extra texture and a bit of crackle paste here and there as well.


After letting all that dry, it was time to add color. I used Light Patina, Mermaid Teal and Royal Blue Metallique paints by Finnabair over the texture, blending them until I was happy with the results. I then took some Finnabair Metallique Wax in Antique Gold to highlight the texture and edges of the canvas.


Wanting to add a little bit more to the background, I took some twine and dyed it with Prima Color Bloom Golden Walnut spray to make it a bit darker. I wrapped it around my canvas and attached the ends to the back with Heavy Body Gel, left overnight to dry.


After arranging my embellishments and other pieces on the canvas to the approximate design I wanted, I painted all the metal and chipboard bits with black gesso, let them dry, and repainted with Steampunk Copper and Rustic Brown Metallique paints. I also added a bit of Royal Red to the top layer of the steampunk heart, to kind of get a “bleeding heart” effect.


I painted the bottoms of some Finnabair Melange stones with Unicorn’s Hair Sparks paint and added them to the canvas as well. When the glue had dried, I added some Glossy Accents around the cogs and sprinkled on some copper microbeads. I also dabbed on a bit of rust paint in places to get an aged feel.


My final touch was to add one of the Tim Holtz quote chips across my mechanical heart. It seemed to be the perfect sentiment for the canvas. I distressed the edges with a little bit of rust paste to blend it in with the rest of the canvas.


Thanks for stopping by! I’ll have another step-by-step tutorial in a few days — an altered paper mache box. I’m having so much fun exploring new mixed media techniques and I’m eager to see what I’ll be inspired by next.


Altered Paintbrush #1: A Relic in Time

While wandering down the YouTube rabbit hole recently, I came across several tutorials for creating an altered paintbrush. They were simply gorgeous and I really wanted to give it a try myself. So when my dad had to travel out of town to house-sit for my brother, I asked him to stop in a Harbor Freight and pick up a cheap paintbrush for me to experiment on.

A Relic in Time

The brush he brought me was a 69-cent chip brush, 3 inches wide. Since I wasn’t sure what, exactly, I would be doing to the brush, I first covered it in some Tim Holtz tissue paper using Mod Podge. Though it ended up being completely covered on the front, the paper made the back of the brush pretty as well.


I used heavy gel medium to glue my embellishments on, including two chipboard pieces, one by ScrapFX (the lightbulb) and the other by 2Crafty (the wings). I also glued on some metal gears from my stash, a metal flower and a piece of molded paper clay. After letting all that dry overnight, I painted the whole thing with gesso and added some Art Stones here and there.


My first thought, at this point, was to use sprays to color the brush. I used Fairy Pond and Precious Stone Color Bloom sprays by Prima, letting it dry in between coats. But afterwards, I didn’t really like the color on the metal bits, so I dug through my paints and found Finnabair’s Patina Paste set, which I’d had for months but had never gotten around to using.

I brushed on the blue and green pastes with a small brush, then used the brass paste to highlight the textures. I also used a bit of Metallique Wax in Vintage Gold. When I was finished it started to look like some kind of treasure that had been unearthed from the bottom of the ocean and I was in love.


My next step was to take one of the Tim Holtz Mini Pocket Watches, into which I glued down a spiral clock face I found on Pinterest. I added a little bit of Glossy Accents at the bottom of the inside of the watch and sprinkled on some gold micro beads, which looked a little like simulated sand when done. Afterwards, I rubbed a bit of Vintage Gold wax along the outside, to have it match the rest of the brush. I then glued the watch on top of the metal flower.


I painted a Finnabair Mechanicals metal butterfly with the brass patina paste, bending the wings upward a bit for depth. I also felt it needed a little something so I used Glossy Accents to glue some small Swarovski crystals onto the butterfly.

I also took three pieces of the Finnabair Art Ingredients Melange and painted the flat part with Finnabair Sparks paint in Dragon’s Eye. After the paint dried, I attached them to the brush with more Glossy Accents, and the little stones look like they glow! It’s such a cool effect!

To finish off my project, I added a few more Swarovski crystals. I just love bling!

I had a lot of fun altering my paintbrush and I can’t wait to do another… hopefully soon!

Art Journal: Love All Things + bonus ATCs

Someday, someone will explain to me why time passes so slowly during the work week, yet flies by in the blink of an eye on the weekends. Here it is, the middle of March, and I haven’t even posted my February Julie Nutting art journal layout.

Love All Things

Of course, being February, I wanted to do a Valentine’s themed layout. I apologize for not having a step-by-step photo process, but I had intended to make this project into my first video. However, my camera angles were all wonky, so I scrapped the video and will try again on a future project.

To begin, I glued down some tissue paper printed with keys onto my cardstock base with Mod Podge. I then took some Dylusions paint in Periwinkle Blue and lightly painted over the top to create my sky. After it dried, I felt it was a little too blue so I lightly brushed some white gesso over the top.

I used the Julie Nutting Mindy stamp with the JN Wings stamp to create my lady. I stamped the outfit several times onto Valentine-themed papers to paper piece them onto the doll. I was also able to extend the skirt using this method. I colored her hair with pink Copic markers and added streaks onto the wings using a Wink of Stella pen to simulate sparkly feathers.

I cut hillsides using my Lawn Fawn Stitched Hillside borders and colored with Peeled Paint and Mowed Lawn Distress Inks. The clouds are also by Lawn Fawn.

The scripty Love and tree are by Memory Box/Poppystamps. I glued down some little hearts onto the ends of the branches and went over them with the Wink of Stella brush pen to give them some shimmer.

I also managed to do one set of ATCs for the February swap over on I wish I could have done more, but the first quarter at work is always busy and I just didn’t have time to fit more creative play into my days.


The theme I chose was St. Patrick’s Day (as if you couldn’t tell!). I also did paper-pieced Julie Nutting dolls for my ATCs, though I used some of the smaller dolls that were closer in ATC size: Party Girl, Love Day and Mama’s Day. I cut my backgrounds from a St. Patrick’s Day paper pad by Authentique, as well as my little quotes and the dolls’ dresses. I die cut some small shamrocks using a die by Poppystamps and tucked them in along the sides. I added some green sequins and a small silver charm to complete the cards.

My next two projects are totally Finnabair-inspired, an altered paintbrush and a canvas. I hope to have posts about these up soon.

Thanks for stopping by!

MTW Challenge entry

I’ve been a fan of the More Than Words Challenge for well over a year now. The design team always makes such fabulous example pieces, and the winners of each monthly challenge are truly inspiring. I’ve been tempted to enter before, but time always got away from me. This month, however, I found some time to sit down and do my very first scrapbook-type mixed media layout.


The challenge this month was “Forever” and “Hearts.” Fitting for the month of Valentine’s Day. I had found a cute photo on Pinterest of two lovebirds and it inspired me to do this layout.

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Everything Begins and Ends With You

I primarily used elements from Prima’s new Lavender collection, with a few other flowers and chipboards from my stash. My take on the challenge words is a bit subtle. I found a flair button with the word “Forever” on it. I had a larger chipboard heart I was planning to use, but I felt it detracted from my photo, so I went with several smaller wooden hearts.



I greatly enjoyed creating this piece, and I hope it won’t be my last entry into this wonderful challenge!


Update 3/8/2018: Truly honored to have received an honorable mention for this layout!


Altered Embroidery Hoop: ‘Dreamer of Dreams’

If someone had told me a couple of years ago that I would be able to make pretty pieces of art… pretty enough I’d want to hang on my walls… I would have laughed in their face. I thought I wasn’t crafty. I’d always wanted to be able to create, but believed I never had the talent for it.

Then I found YouTube.

I really am quite thankful for those who take the time to record their creative processes and explain, step by step, how their beautiful creations were made. They’ve helped me believe that, hey, I could do that too!

My recent forays into YouTube introduced me to altered embroidery hoops. As I used to be a prolific cross-stitcher, I have several old hoops lying around. I figured I’d give it a shot…

I’m not going to go into detail as to how I made this wall hanging. Instead, I’ll just link to the video that inspired me to make it. Many thanks to the artist, Ola Khomenok, a member of the Prima Marketing design team. Her video is a really neat process to watch, and I hope it will inspire you, too. 🙂

Christmas 2017 projects

Because the holidays were crazy hectic for me and I didn’t get a chance to blog my projects, I thought I’d quickly go through some of my holiday-themed makes. I abstained from the usual ATC swap for a couple of months in order to get other things done, but I did sign up for a Christmas-themed tag swap and pocket letter swap, and made something just for me.

My first project of the season was a holiday sled. I fell in love with the Kaisercraft Beyond the Page sled when I first saw it, so I bought it on a whim, even though I hadn’t really done anything like it before. I also decided the Mint Wishes collection, also from Kaisercraft, would be perfect to decorate the sled with.

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First I broke apart the sled pieces and sanded down the tabs. I also painted the edges with white gesso, but not very carefully, as I wanted to leave a bit of a distressed look. I took several pieces of the “Cabin” paper from the Mint Wishes collection and traced the pieces onto the back before cutting them out. I adhered the paper with Mod Podge and set it aside to dry.

Next, I sanded the edges to take off any excess paper. I also decided to give the sled a snowy feel by splattering the pieces with white ink before I assembled the sled with a strong glue. I set the sled aside to let the glue dry while I assembled my embellishments.

I found a pretty white flower made of vellum in my stash, so I added some Cool Mint Stickles to some of the petals for some sparkle. I also chose several pieces from the Mint Wishes ephemera pack, as well as some sparkly leaves by Prima and a flair button by My Mind’s Eye. I layered these pieces on top of a piece of sparkly tulle at the base of the sled.


I felt it was missing a little something, so I die cut some pine branches using a die by Impression Obsession and colored them with Evergreen Bough Distress Ink. I took a wood flourish from the Mint Wishes collection and painted it with white gesso and layered these together at the top of the sled. I also added some sparkly gems to represent berries as well. Finally, I took a piece of sheer green ribbon and looped it through the runners to hang it with. It looks great hanging on the wall!


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My first swap of the Christmas season was a tag swap. I knew I wanted to do something in non-tradition Christmas colors… I just wasn’t sure what. I had recently purchased the Tim Holtz Tattered Poinsettia die, so I thought I’d make a pink poinsettia for the top half of the tag. I die cut the petals from some patterned paper with music notes on it and inked them with Worn Lipstick Distress Oxide ink. While the ink was still wet, I sprinkled on some Judikins Iridescent Sparkle embossing powder. When heated, the powder becomes transparent, leaving behind the most beautiful sparkle. The leaves were die cut from plain cardstock and inked with Peeled Paint Distress ink. I ran them through with the coordinating embossing folder for added texture.

After assembling the flower layers and adding a few extra leaves, I made the center of the poinsettia by adhering yellow and gold seed beads with Glossy Accents. I also added a wood flourish word painted with white gesso, to add a bit of “joy” to my tag.

While the glue was drying, I made the base of my tag. I adhered a piece of paper from the now-retired Sugar Plum collection by My Mind’s Eye to the tag base and sanded the edges to distress it a little. I glued down a bit of sisal and added the poinsettia to the top of the tag.


The bottom half vexed me for days. I just wasn’t sure what to do with it. Finally, the background paper I used gave me an idea. The sparkle on the paper reminded me of stars, so I thought I’d do a snowy scene with die cuts at the bottom of the tag.


The die cut village at the very back is by Your Next Stamp. All the other dies are by Memory Box/Poppystamps. I layered my scene with adhesive foam squares and added some sparkling snow with Crystal Stickles glitter glue. I thought my scene needed just a pop of color, so I added a green tree with little sparkling red dots as well. The sentiment sticker is from the Tim Holtz Small Talk Occasions pad. Finally, I die cut a Christmas star from silver paper to “hang” over my village.

I then tied a piece of pink ribbon onto the top and my Christmas tag was done and ready to be sent to my swap partner.

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My final swap of 2017 was a pocket letter. I had fallen in love with my non-traditional color scheme I’d used in my tag, so I continued it through my pocket letter.


I used pages from the Sugar Plum 6×6 paper pad by My Mind’s Eye for the backgrounds of all my pockets. In most the pockets, I simply added some ephemera from the same collection, die cuts or quote stickers from Tim Holtz.


I knew I wanted to add a Julie Nutting doll to my pocket letter, so I chose Marisol, as I wanted to make her dress using JN Haute Couture die set, which I’d had for a while but hadn’t gotten around to using yet. The bottom layer of her dress was cut from a festive piece of patterned paper, while the overlay was die cut using metallic green paper. I also added some holly die cuts to her hair.


For the center pocket, I wanted to make a wreath. I took a pair of twig dies from one of my Impression Obsession sets and die cut them into green cardstock… over and over and over. I’m not sure how many I ended up with. Fifty or more, I’d say. I die cut a circle about the width of the pocket, then layered all those twigs on top, using Glossy Accents to glue them down to make it look nice and leafy.

The poinsettias are also from an Impression Obsession set, which I die cut into pink cardstock. I layered the petals together and added a small yellow gem to the center. Finally, I took a small pink ribbon and adhered it to the bottom of the wreath.


I had such fun with my Christmas projects, I can hardly wait until next year to make more. Though, truth be told… I may not wait that long. I may have to do some Christmas in July projects!

Art Journal: Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

First, let me apologize for the lack of posts for the past few months. My various illnesses coupled with a stressful quarter at work, the holidays and my little dog getting sick over Christmas really didn’t leave me with much energy to blog my crafts. I’ve been posting my makes on Instagram, but I’m afraid I left my blog hanging while dealing with everything else. But my goal for 2018 is more posts as well as giving making video tutorials a shot! I’ve ordered a tripod for my camera, so wish me luck!

Because I’ve been so busy and stresses, I’ve taken a break from the various swaps I’d been a part of last year. I found I’d been spending all my crafty time working on swaps, and not enough to time working for me. I’ve taken up painting dot mandalas (a topic for a later post) and I want to get back to art journaling. Which brings me to today’s make.

I had an idea last year to do at least one art journal layout a month using the Julie Nutting doll stamps, but I wanted to start with January. So I waited, and planned, and today, I finished my very first one.

Happy New Year 2018!

I’m using the Julie Nutting Dollhouse Album as my journal. To start this layout, I cut two pieces of grey paper to tape down onto the journal pages. I cut it slightly smaller than the page itself in order to leave a border, but I’m not sure I will do this in the future.

My first step was to heat emboss the Hero Arts Garland Bold Prints background stamp with silver embossing powder, to give my little scene a festive atmosphere. I then taped off a small strip at the bottom of the page and added Black Soot Distress Ink for the “floor.”

To make my window scene, I first die cut two windows from the Julie Nutting Parisian View die set. I distressed it using the Carta Bella Traveler’s Journal text stamp using grey ink. I glued the two die cuts together to make one window in order to make it fit on the page.

Next, I used Broken China, Salty Ocean and Faded Jeans Distress Oxide Inks onto some white cardstock for my night sky. I spritzed the background with a bit of water for texture.

I used the Impression Obsession City Landscape dies to cut out my cityscape and added some highlights with a white gel pen.

I then took my Stylized Fireworks stencil from StencilGirl and added some New Year’s fi reworked with Nuvo Mousse in Pure Platinum and Incan Gold. 

When everything was dry, I layered the window and cityscape dies together and glued them down onto the background.

For the right side of my layout, I decided to go with the Julie Nutting Tasha doll stamp. I paper pieced her dress together using some shiny Kaisercraft paper I had in my leftover stash. I used the top hat stamp from the Hero Arts Happy New Year stamp set to make her hat, adding a small piece of pink glitter paper as the band.

Finally, I stamped the year and sentiment using the Hero Arts Happy New Year stamp set. The final touch was to add the clock from the same stamp set heat embossed in gold. 

I already have ideas for February and March’s layout so I’m looking forward to creating them in the months ahead!