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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Pocket Letter #1: Red, White and You

POCKET LETTERS!

I had been admiring the pocket letter swap over on Scrapbook.com for months, but hadn’t really had the time or opportunity to join in until this past July. But once I dipped my toes into the pocket letter pool, I knew I was hooked.

My first pocket letter swap took place in July, so naturally the theme was Red, White and Blue. Now, I’m not a very patriotic person, since I have dual citizenship I can’t just pick one country, but I figured I could work with the theme. I did order the small 6×6 Yankee Doodle paper pad from Doodlebug to use as the background papers, but I pretty much had everything else I needed already.

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Red, White and You

I’m not going to go into a step-by-step process of the whole pocket letter, as that would take too long, but I will share what products I used in its creation.

The first thing I made for the pocket letter was the Julie Nutting doll, Collette. I knew I wanted to attach one of the dolls to the outside of the plastic pocket  holders and I wanted to dress her in red, white and blue. I used paper piecing to make her dress out of the Doodlebug paper, then created a mostly-white background for her to sit in front of.

The lighthouse and jar of flowers pockets were next. Both were created using dies from Cottage Cutz, specifically the Lighthouse with Clouds and Flower Bouquet Jar.

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I also knew I wanted to create a shaker pocket as my middle pocket. I cut my acetate and dry embossed the front panel to give it some texture. I added some red, white and blue sequins and attached the two pieces of acetate together with glossy accents and added a frame to hide the glue.

Next, I had planned to use a new fireworks stencil by StencilGirl I had recently gotten, because what Red, White and Blue holiday is complete without fireworks? But the stencil was larger than one pocket, so I decided to create it over two. I used silver Nuvo mousse to give it some shine. I still lacked something, though, so I found an adorable airplane with banner die in my stash and added it and my sentiment to the fireworks panels.

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I admit, for my final three panels, I was a bit stuck as to what to do. But I just had to root around in my stash to get ideas. I used a trimmed-down version of the Memory Box Star Garland die over red Doodlebug paper and die cut the words “Sparkle” and “Shine,” using dies by The Greeting Farm, for one panel.

I also found a pretty blue and red flower brad embellishment amongst my stash and added a cute little lady bug for the top left panel.

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And for my last panel, I used the Memory Box Quinn flourish die and a butterfly fussy cut from a piece of Kaisercraft Indigo Skies paper. I glued the butterfly to the outside of the pocket to give it some dimension.

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To finish off my pocket letter, I added some washi tape to the spine and tied some festive ribbon to the top hole. I also added a die-cut banner to my center panel, as I felt it needed a little something.

I was very nervous about sending this to my swap partner, as it was my first ever pocket letter, but she said she loved it!

I’ve since completed my second letter and will have a post on that one as soon as my new swap partner receives it.

ATCs for the January 2017 swap

Hello and happy new year! Of course, the first month of the New Year is almost over… I had hoped to make a post long before now, but my family has been getting ready to move into our new house and then I got the flu. Ugh… But in between everything, I managed to finish my Artist Trading Cards for the January 2017 swap on the Scrapbook.com forums.

"Be My Valentine"
“Be My Valentine”

There are always four themes or categories to choose from. I try to choose two or three for my contribution. The first theme was “Valentine’s Day.” I stamped the image of the Victorian lady from Deep Red Stamps onto some watercolor cardstock, then used the “smooshing” technique with Distress Inks: Spun Sugar, Worn Lipstick and Picked Raspberry. I “smooshed” the ink pad on a piece of acetate, spritzed it with water, then flipped it over and “smooshed” the acetate onto my stamped image, which leaves these lovely splatter patterns.

I then glued down some tulle, lace and Prima wire thread on the side, then added a lacy flower accent. I stuck a rose bud into the little hole of a Tim Holtz token and glued that on top of the flower. For a finishing touch, I added three sequins to each card and a “loving” phrase from the Tim Holtz Small Talk Occasions sticker pack. Though you can’t see in the photo, the card was also spritzed with a glitter spray, so it shines in the light.

Be Inspired
“Be Inspired”

The next theme I chose was “Corrugated.” I had some corrugated card stock I cut down to ATC size and painted with black gesso. I then sprayed each card with Lindy’s Starburst sprays (I don’t remember the colors… everything’s been topsy turvy getting ready for the move) in blue, pink and purple, as well as white for each card. I glued down some artist palette chipboard that I believe I got from Retro Cafe Art Gallery, painted them with black gesso and sprayed with Lindy’s sprays. The little holes in the palettes were the perfect size to drop in some gems for the colors.

The white flowers were spritzed with a glitter spray and some butterflies I had fussy cut from some paper were glued on top. Self-adhesive gems and sequins were added, as were some stickers from Tim Holtz’s Chitchat collection. I added some glitter glue to the tips of the paintbrushes and in some of the grooves of the corrugated cardstock for the final touch.

"Let It Snow"
“Let It Snow”

The final category I chose was “Winter.” Using watercolor cardstock, I inked the backgrounds with ColorBox Cat’s Eye Queue pigment inks. Though it’s hard to see in the photo, I layered a swirly stencil on top and inked through it with Versamark embossing ink. I embossed the swirls with Judikin’s iridescent embossing powder. The snowflake chippies were inked with white pigment ink, then embossed with white embossing powder from Ranger. I had some small snowflake stamps from Hero Arts with I scattered around with silver ink, also from HA. The title quotes were from Tim Holtz’s Holiday Talk collection, which I outlined with a white charcoal pencil. The edges were inked with chalk ink and some gems were added for the finishing touch.

This will probably be my last post for a little while until we get moved in and my supplies unpacked. But in our new house, I will finally have a hobby room! With space to do my little arts and craft projects, I’m hoping to be more productive and, fingers crossed, I may even be able to do a video every once in a while. I don’t know if anyone will watch, but it’ll be out there for other newbies to see how this newbie does things. ^_^

“Beach Break”

I made this canvas piece at the end of October, but I never got around to doing a blog post about it for several reasons. Halloween. The November 30 Day Coloring Challenge. Getting ready for Thanksgiving. Ending up in the emergency room…

More on that last bit in a bit, as this canvas was the cause. >_<

The inspiration for this piece started with some tissue paper I found in my stash…

Pretty, thin tissue paper!
Pretty, thin tissue paper!

I knew I wanted to use this as a background, so I tore a piece off and glued it down to an 8×10 inch canvas panel using Mod Podge, then painted a thin coat of gesso on top.

Urm... please excuse the shadows. I was having technical issues. XD
Urm… please excuse the shadows. I was having technical issues. XD

And… there it sat because I couldn’t really think of where to go from there. Finally, one weekend, I pulled out some of my favorite sprays — Lindy’s, Shimmerz and Prima Color Bloom — and created a beachy background. I dabbed some texture paste in places to make foamy waves as well.

I cannot even begin to express how much I love these colors together.
I cannot even begin to express how much I love these colors together.

I honestly almost left the panel as-is, because I loved how it came out so much. But it did have an unfinished feel to it, so I decided to use the background to make a little scene. I added chipboard, netting and seashells…

...and this is how it turned out.
…and this is how it turned out.
Green microbeads created the texture on the mermaid's tail.
Green microbeads created the texture on the mermaid’s tail.
Also added some real seashells and starfish.
Also added some real seashells and starfish.
Some fisherman's netting was the perfect touch...
Some fisherman’s netting was the perfect touch…

However, a word of caution about the netting. As I was cutting it up, tiny pieces of the fiber started floating around. I have asthma, and I must have inhaled some of the fibers. That evening, I was having trouble breathing and my medication wasn’t strong enough to pull me out of it. I started turning blue from lack of oxygen and had to be rushed to the emergency room in an ambulance. Was only there for a couple of hours, thank goodness, and they got my breathing under control quickly. So lesson learned. Wear a mask when working with this netting or anything similar, especially if you have compromised lungs like I do.

December is going to be a busy month, making several gifts for both Christmas and birthdays, so just in case this is my last post of the year, happy holidays and all the best for the new year!

Competition entries for TonnerCon

I’m a doll collector. Have been since I stopped playing with them and started displaying them on various shelves. Several years ago, I made the jump from Barbie collector to larger fashion dolls and Asian ball jointed dolls. One of my favorite companies is the Tonner Doll Company. I have… an embarrassing number of Tonner/Wilde Imagination dolls. But they’re so pretty!

A few years ago, I started attending the Tonner Doll convention, usually held twice a year in various cities around the country. It’s a great way to spend 3-4 days, with people who “get” your brand of crazy love for plastic and resin dolls. During the convention, there is always a competition room. Attendees are sent a list of competition categories a couple of months before so they can work on their creations. I don’t participate much, because I couldn’t sew my way out of a paper bag. But sometimes there are categories that aren’t sewing-related, and I can participate.

This year’s TonnerCon, held June 2-4, 2016, in Columbus, OH, which was the weekend of my 40th birthday. There were two competition categories I was interested in… creating a dress/outfit entirely out of paper and the craft category, which was for any handicraft other than sewing. Score!

My paper dress, which I modeled on Tonner’s Victorian Basic Cami doll, was made of yellow tissue paper and over 30 handmade flowers, utilizing over 100 punched flower shapes. Even though I didn’t place in this category, I had a lot of fun putting it together.

"Tiptoeing Through the Violets"
“Tiptoeing Through the Violets”

I’d entered the craft category at a previous convention, with a cross stitch piece of one of the Wilde Imagination dolls. As this year was celebrating the Tonner Doll Company’s 25th anniversary, I wanted to do something to acknowledge what an amazing company Tonner is. Their motto is “Believe in the power of play,” and as I had recently taken up quilling, this was what I came up with, my second-ever quilling piece…

"Believe in the Power of Play"
“Believe in the Power of Play”

I won third place for this! And the Tonner Doll staff loved it! One of the other attendees liked it so much, she wanted to buy it from me. But as it was my birthday, I decided to give it to her. I hope she enjoys it! ❤

A new venture…

I’ve always wanted to be creative, to create pretty things or write spell-binding stories. But I’ve never felt good enough or smart enough or creative enough to do much beyond cross stitching and fanfiction. But now that I’m older, I say screw it. I don’t have to create masterpieces. I don’t even have to create things other people will like. I just have to make something I like and have fun doing it.

And I guess, if I like it enough, I’ll post it here and on my various social media feeds.

My first big “try something new” test came in April ’16, when I decided to try my hand at quilling after watching some tutorials online. I bought a starter kit and some paper and this was my first attempt at quilling art…

"Quilling Debut"
“Quilling Debut”

I had wanted to use soft pinks and greens for the entire piece only I didn’t have enough of the colors I wanted in the starter kit, so I had to utilize more brighter colors (and a little bit of purple when I ran completely out of pink).

Is it perfect? No. But it was basically a practice piece, to give me an idea on how to create different shapes out of rolled up strips of paper.

I’ve done a few more projects since then, and I’ll post them here when I have a chance…