Tag Swap: Autumn and Halloween

It’s Halloween season! As everyone knows, I mark my calendar as such: Aug. 31 — last day of summer; Sept. 1 — first day of Halloween. It is my very favorite holiday, and as Oct. 31 draws closer, you can almost feel the magic in the air.

So of course when the Halloween swaps started popping up on my various forums, I signed up! I had a lot of fun making the four sets of Halloween ATCs, so I jumped at the chance to make a Halloween tag when the swap opened.

But sometimes, things don’t always go quite as expected. The swap was for either a Halloween or Fall tag, for those who weren’t into Halloween. When the swap opened, the group was short one partner, so the Swap Boss asked for a volunteer to make a second tag. I am a masochist at heart, apparently, so I volunteered to make a fall tag as well as a Halloween one. I figured it wouldn’t be too much of a problem, as I had just finished my autumn-inspired pocket letter and had some autumn themed papers and embellies left over. I was still letting my idea for the Halloween tag stew in my head, so I started work on the fall tag first.

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Amber Moon

I started by taking a chipboard tag base by Prima and adhering a piece of paper from the Amber Moon collection to both the front and back, as I try to make the backs of my pieces look nice. I cut another piece of paper from the collection slightly smaller and distressed the edges before adhering it to the front of the tag using foam tape. To add a little interest, I spritzed the layered piece with Lindy’s Stamp Gang sprays Autumn Leaf Crimson and Milk Chocolate Brown and let them run down the paper.

Next I die cut some autumn leaves using the Tim Holtz Fall Foliage die set. I used Fired Brick, Spiced Marmalade, Fossilized Amber and Peeled Paint Distress inks to color them. I smooshed the colors onto my craft mat, spritzed with water, then dragged the leaves through the colors. I dried them just a little with my heat tool, then used the Milk Chocolate Brown spray to sprinkle little dots of brown over the leaves. Where the leaves were still a bit damp, the brown spread out, giving the leaves a mottled look. Where it was dry, the Lindy’s spray left little brown sparkly drops. Finally, I inked all the edges with Vintage Photo ink.

While letting the leaves dry completely, I cut some thin strips of the Amber Moon paper and layered them on the right side of the tag, bending the top ends just a bit for some dimension. I also cut one of the little cards out of the paper and a background for it to act as my main focal point. I distressed the edges of the background paper and added a Tim Holtz sticker from the Small Talk Occasions pad to the card. Before adhering them in the center of the tag, I wrapped some ecru colored string around the tag for a bit more interest.

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When the die cut leaves were completely dry, I shaped them a bit with my fingers, making them look a bit more natural. I adhered a few in the top left corner, along with some small flowers and picks, also from the Amber Moon collection.

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I did the same in the bottom right corner and added a small pine cone as well. I also added a chipboard sticker that said, “Gather” to the bottom for balance. I then tucked some of the smaller leaves around the center focal point. For my final touches, I added a bit of metallic gold paint to the rose at the top and to the edges of the pine cone and added three copper sequins to the tag.

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I still felt it needed a little something, so I added a beautiful butterfly from Reneabouquet to the top left. Finally, I tied on a bit of orange gingham ribbon and my fall tag was done!

As for my Halloween tag…

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Witches’ Brew

Ugh. I had such problems with this one! I think my biggest problem was too many ideas in my head. I’d wanted to do a spooky outdoors scene with a castle and some tombstones, but I couldn’t get it to lie the way I wanted to on the Prima tag base. In the end I ended up flipping through my dies to get ideas, when I came across the Poppystamps Grand Madison Fireplace die… and immediately thought of a bubbling cauldron being stirred by witches. And so my idea was born.

To give the fireplace some dimension, I die cut it 6 times and layered them together. I inked the top-most layer with Pumice Stone, Hickory Smoke and Tea Dye Distress Inks. It didn’t give me quite the dimension I was looking for so I added a bit of foam tape to the back as well.

For the back of the fireplace, I inked a panel of white cardstock with Pumice Stone, then ran it through my Big Shot inside the Tim Holtz Bricked embossing folder that had been inked with Hickory Smoke before adhering it to the back of the fireplace.

For my tag, I first glued down a piece of Halloween paper I had in my stash that has long since been discontinued on both the front and back of the tag. I inked the edges with Black Soot Distress Ink, then stamped all over with the Witch’s Chant stamp from Stampendous for texture. (It’s a lovely text stamp that uses the witches’ scene from Shakespeare’s Macbeth… great for Halloween projects!)

After gluing down the fireplace, I die cut the Memory Box Pot of Gold to use as my cauldron. I turned the “gold” die cut into a green witch’s brew with Twisted Citron ink and a bit of white gel pen before gluing it into the fireplace. I also added a Trick or Treat chipboard sticker from the Pink Paislee Spellcast collection and a die-cut hanging bat from the Cheery Lynn Twisted Tree die set.

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For my mantle, I fussy cut some bottles from a piece of Rare Oddities paper from Graphic 45 and hot glue a Tim Holtz skull on top for some spooky decorations. The witches are from the Tim Holtz Ancestor paper dolls ephemera collection and just worked perfectly with this tag! I also added the chipboard cat from the Spellcast collection, because every witch needs a familiar!

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For the top part of the tag, I used the Tim Holtz Cobweb die for a bit of creepy background for my window. The window frame was cut using the Poppystamps Small Gothic Window die. I also die cut the Cheery Lynn Twisted Tree and used the moon and a couple of bats from the Tim Holtz Haunted House die to use in the window. The back side of the paper I used on my tag base was a lovely shade of blue, which I thought would work well as the night sky. I glued down the moon, tree and bats before gluing the window frame on top, then trimmed off any excess. I added the window to the tag with foam tape.

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To finish off the tag, I took a quote sticker from the Tim Holtz Small Talk Occasions pad and cut it into 4 little pieces to glue onto the window frame. I also added a pretty spider charm and a piece of orange ribbon to tie the whole thing together.

I was super happy with the way it turned out, so I hope my swap partner likes it!

Onto the next Halloween project!

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September ATCs: Second sets

This month, I joined a second ATC swap on another forum, Splitcoaststampers.com. It’s hosted by the same lady who hosts the one on Scrapbook.com and she invited me to participate in both. Since the swap on Splitcoast is every other month, and since I could work in another set of Halloween cards, I decided to take the plunge.

The four categories for August/September were Anything Associated with September or October, Anything That Flies, Coffee/Tea and Artist’s Choice. I chose to do all four categories.

I’m not going to go into a lot of detail as to how these cards were made, like I do on my other monthly ATCs, but I will list what I used.

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The Night Visitor

I really wanted to make an interactive ATC, and I got the idea of having a little ghost rise from behind some gravestones. Let me tell you… these were such a PAIN IN THE ASS to make. I had the worst time trying to get them to work and making all the elements stay in place. But I did prevail. I just need to remind myself not to try anything this complicated again… at least not when I’m on a deadline.

You can see the card in action over on my Instagram.

The main gravestone is from MFT Stamps while the smaller gravestones are from the latest Tim Holtz Halloween release. The ghost, pumpkin and trees are by Memory Box. The grass is from Lawn Fawn.

 

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Time Flies

For my Anything That Flies cards, I knew I wanted to do a twist on the theme. The first thing that came to mind with this category was time, and I had the perfect stamp set to use! I heat embossed the unwinding clock from the Visible Image “Ahead of Our Time” stamps in gold over a base that I’d prepared using Prima Color Bloom sprays. I also embossed the falling girl from the same set and fussy cut her out. You can’t tell from the photo, but the whole card is very shimmery and shiny.

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Coffee Break

For my coffee cards, I don’t drink coffee or tea, so I didn’t have a lot to work with. But I did have some cute dies by Memory Box/Poppystamps with which I could create a little cafe scene. My base was a piece of printed music, which I overlaid with a piece of vellum. I die cut all my elements and glued them down on top, then added a little quote sticker from the Tim Holtz Small Talk pad.

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Let Your Light Shine

The sky was the limit with the Artist’s Choice category, so I chose to commemorate the recent total solar eclipse that happened last month. Where I live, we got a little over 2 and a half minutes of totality, and it was simply an amazing experience.

I made these very similarly to how I made my ‘Scorch’ cards back in the summer, only instead of using silvers and golds, I used black paints for the background and the “moon.” The girl and quote are heat embossed in silver from the August My Monthly Hero kit from Hero Arts.

Christmas is sneaking up on us, but I’m not quite ready to let Halloween pass by without a couple more projects. Thanks for stopping by!

September ATCs: First sets

It’s ATC time!

This month I joined a second ATC swap over on the Splitcoaststampers forum. I ended up doing 9 sets total, so I’ll split my monthly ATC post into two posts.

First up are my ATCs for the Scrapbook.com forums. The themes this month were Halloween, an ATC based on a fall photo, Sweets and Ancestors. I chose all but the Ancestors theme. I really had no inspiration for it.

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Fright Night

I actually ended up doing three Halloween sets. For my first set, I inked up my cards with Carved Pumpkin, Crushed Olive and Seedless Preserves Distress inks, then spritzed with a little water. I inked up the Tim Holtz X-Ray ATC stamp with VersaMark and applied Midnight Copper embossing powder from Lindy’s Stamp Gang. I was having problems with the stamp, so the embossing powder didn’t stick in random places, but I think they turned out OK. I added some Prima flowers, a Tim Holtz metal skull and a quote from the Small Talk Occasions pad to finish.

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I Will Never Leave You

For my second set of Halloween ATCs, I had planned these for months. I bought the free-standing ATC tombstone bases from Retro Cafe Art months ago, and was glad to finally get to play with them! I started by gluing down a piece of paper from the Pink Paislee Spellcast paper pad on both sides of the base. (Since these were free-standing, I wanted to do both sides… though I don’t have a photo of the back, since it’s just plain.)

I inked the edges with some Black Soot Distress ink and added a bit of texture with a text stamp on top. (For the tombstone with the spiderweb, I painted the base with black gesso first.) I then added the black chipboard frame and the skeleton cameo with heavy gel medium and set it aside to dry overnight.

I added the metal spiders with hot glue the next day, as well as the epitaphs from the new Tim Holtz Halloween Clippings stickers.

For the bases, I simply used hot glue with some brown moss and added a skull bead and a tiny mushroom.

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A Sweet Occasion

Thinking I was done with my Halloween cards, I moved on to my Sweets ATCs. A week before I started these, we had gotten the (not really) surprising news that one of my dear cousins, while on a trip to Norway with her beau of over a decade, had eloped while there! So in honor of their marriage, I decided to do wedding cakes as my “sweet.”

I used the Cottage Cutz Tiered Wedding Cake die to make all three. The die comes with a lot of options for paper cake decorating! I inked the edges of the cakes with Antique Linen Distress Oxides and used various shades of blues, pinks and greens for the decorations. I also added some Wink of Stella brush pen to the decorations to give the cakes some glimmer. I attached them to the background using foam tape. The sentiments were from the Tim Holtz Small Talk Occasions pad. I glued on some crystal gems for the final touch.

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Autumn Sunset

Our swap hostess had posted a photo of a fall scene for us to draw inspiration from for the Photo Inspired cards. It was a photo of a cabin on a lake surrounded by fall leaves with deer in the yard. I went a little literal with my interpretation!

I used Distress Oxides in Fossilized Amber, Fired Brick and Spiced Marmalade on the base to give my cards a kind of sunset background. I then added a pieces of vellum to the lower half of the card to simulate my lake.

I die cut my scene using various dies from Memory Box/Poppystamps (listed below) and inked them with Peeled Paint and Vintage Photo Distress Oxides. I tried the bridge in brown at first, but decided I rather preferred the white bridge instead. I did add a little texture to the bridge with a text stamp though.

The tree frame is a die by Cottage Cutz called Tree Frame. It’s the perfect size for ATCs. I added some dots of glue to the branches and sprinkled on some autumn-colored FlowerSoft. I added the frame with some foam tape and glued the deer in front. I added spots on the fawn with a white Sharpie paint pen.

Dies used:

• Memory Box Country Hills Oval Frame

• Memory Box Little Pines

• Memory Box Little Bridge

• Memory Box Mama and Baby Deer

• Cottage Cutz Tree Frame

At this point I thought I was done with my September ATCs. And then my new Hero Arts stamps arrived…

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You Put a Spell on Me

I just had to play with this stamp set, Luna the Halloween Cat, as soon as I opened my package. I had been inspired by a Halloween card on the Hero Arts blog for these ATCs. I taped off the bottom and the top of the ATC base and sponged on some Faded Jeans and Wilted Violets Distress Oxides. Then I taped the cards into my MISTI and spritzed the Hero Arts Starry Night background stamp with a shimmer spray. The water in the spray reacted with the Distress Oxides, leaving a beautiful shimmer behind in the shape of the background stamp.

After drying, I stamped the cats and sentiment with VersaMark and heat embossed them with some black embossing powder. I added a few sequins to the background and a star sequin on the cats’ butts, because why not? 😀

I had to make myself mail my September cards the day after I finished my last set, because I was sorely tempted to make more for Halloween! (And I did for my other set of ATCs for Splitcoast… but that’s a post for another day!)

A haunted ATC trio

I’ve wanted to try my hand at Artist Trading Cards (ATCs) for a few months now, but I had a trip to plan and get through and the deaths of several friends to deal with (two expected, one not so much). So my art attempts were really limited to my art journal for the past couple of months. But after my trip was over (and I got over my sickness acquired while on said trip), I decided to give it a shot.

My opportunity came when the October ATC swap categories over on Scrapbook.com  were announced. There wasn’t a Halloween theme, but there was a favorite quote or saying option. I knew I had three stamps that combined two of my favorite things — Halloween and Shakespeare — and inspiration bloomed.

I started with three watercolor ATC bases, then took different shades of Distress inks in typical Halloween colors, orange, green and purple, and used a blending tool to rub the ink into the card, starting with the lightest shade of each color, making them darker toward the edges. Then I spritzed some water on top to create droplets. After the cards had dried a little, I took three different stencils and used one on each card with Black Soot Distress Ink.

The finished backgrounds....
The finished backgrounds….

The cards sat like this for a few days while I tried to figure out how to proceed. I assigned each quote to a color and decided to find an appropriate Halloween stamp to go along with each card’s theme. I had the thought to heat emboss the quote onto acetate and layering it on top of the card, so I needed some flat-ish embellishments to go between the layers.

Let me go through each one…

Shakespearean Sorcery #1
Shakespearean Sorcery #1

From Act IV of Macbeth, I wanted to do something spooky, and I had the perfect tiny graveyard stamp to use at the base of the card. I added a “31” ephemera piece from the latest set to add to the corner. Every good, creepy cemetery needs a few ghosts, so I sprinkled some Halloween sequin mix on top before layering the acetate on top, adhering it with glossy accents. When dry, I went around the edge with Orange Peel Stickles and glued on some little bones as a final touch.

Shakespearean Sorcery #2
Shakespearean Sorcery #2

Also from Act IV of Macbeth, I knew this one had to be a little witchy. I fussy cut some potion bottles and a spell book from a piece of Graphic 45 Rare Oddities paper  and glued them down. I stamped a spider dangling from a web across the top. Both this stamp and the cemetery one are from the same set, Halloween Borders from Hero Arts. I used a different Halloween sequin mix (I’m sorry, I don’t remember which one!) to sprinkle on top before adhering the acetate. I went around the outside edge with Black Diamond Stickles before finally attaching a small metal spider charm in the upper corner.

Shakespearean Sorcery #3.
Shakespearean Sorcery #3.

Not from Macbeth this time, but Act III of Hamlet. I think this one’s my favorite. Shh. Don’t tell the other two. I used a raven stamp from a Halloween set from Inkadinkadoo. I used the Faber Castell white Big Brush Marker to color in the moon very carefully. A third Halloween sequin mix — containing bats and moons! — was sprinkled on top before gluing down the acetate. I used Starry Night Stickles around the edges, then painted a chipboard bat with black gesso and glue him on top of the card.

The finished set...
The finished set…

The cards turned out better than I expected, and I almost didn’t want to give them up! But I figured I can always make them again. 🙂

Wonder what I’ll get in exchange… 😀

 

Hocus Pocus

YouTube has been very bad for my bank account. I watch amazing people put together amazing works of art… then I run out and order the materials they used so I can try, too. This is how I’ve come to dabble in mixed media.

It all started when I stumbled upon video tutorial Marta Lapkowska. She made it look so easy, I actually thought to myself, “I could do that!” Now, I’ve never been artistic. I can’t draw. I can barely color. I’ve had no training. I can cross stitch, but that’s about it. But as I watched these videos, a whole new world of ideas opened up in my head. This led me to create my first mixed media project.

"Hocus Pocus"
“Hocus Pocus”

I love Halloween. It is my most favorite holiday. I love spooky, scary, paranormal things. I love magic. And I fell in love with Graphic 45’s paper set, “Rare Oddities.” I bought some paper and embellishments for my… I don’t even know what to call this… shadowbox? Anyway, I took the wooden tray that held some resin Prima embellishments and spray-painted it grey (because I didn’t have black). I stamped and colored the background papers before gluing them into the boxes, then went to town with embellishments.

Left side...
Left side…

It’s hard to tell in the photos, but the embellishments were attached with pop dots, giving it some dimension. I added some beads to a little glass cork jar and stained some cheesecloth for an old curtain effect.

Right side...
Right side…

I used some pieces from a Halloween ephemera pack by Creative Imaginations, then blinged the whole thing up with flowers, gems and Stickles.

My Scrapbook.com gallery has a list of most of the products I used.

“Hocus Pocus” was actually meant to just be a practice piece for a larger Halloween shadowbox I want to do in the future. But I’m really pleased with how it came out!