7.20.2017

It is with sadness.....

.....that I write to you today. My precious father-in-law passed away yesterday, a day after his 91st birthday. He was much loved & adored. You can read his memorium by clicking on the title below...

7.18.2017

Junque flag canvas

Canvas Corp Brands is having a July #ccbchallenge called Flags of the World. I've already entered with my Sparkly Uncle Sam using colors of the US flag so I decided to do a flag canvas as well!

I started by cutting a piece of paper from the 7gypsies Order du jour collection. I liked the damask pattern but wanted a little more blue since it was representing the blue & stars section. I dipped my paint brush in some Tattered Angels Patina Glimmer Mist to add some blue & shimmer.


Next, I set about cutting strips of Canvas Corp's Fluted White paper & strips of burlap. I then spritzed the burlap with red and laid everything out on the canvas. 


After that, it was times to mess around with the junque I wanted to add! I didn't take pics because I was all over the place - I'd do one thing, then didn't like that, then I'd do something else, then I'd move it around. You'd be dizzy from all that mess! But in the end, I got it all together & here's the final result! 


I used different elements, such as 7gypsies Architextures, different snippets from their paper and/or ephemera, Tim Holtz, ribbon & trim, buttons - all very eclectic. It's got texture & height & whimsy! 





And I decided I didn't want the edge around the canvas all white so I added strips of burlap - I think it warms the whole thing up! 




Thanks for stopping by to see my take on our nation's flag & colors ala Canvas Corp style! 


7.17.2017

Pieces of a kids meal becomes art!

For some reason, I got a kids meal a couple months ago and it had this toy something or other in it that you put together. So I said, 'I can use those parts for later'. And now, later has arrived!


I got a small canvas, painted it with black gesso, and set about arranging my pieces. To the happy meal toy pieces, I added a button battery, some miscellaneous watch parts, a Prima Art bolt, and a little man. After gluing, I painted everything with black gesso and got out my waxes and rub 'n buff.






You can get inspiration for a project anywhere - even a kids meal toy!  So the next time you're driving through a fast food restaurant, get yourself a kids meal....but don't tell your kids. 😋

7.13.2017

Save those boxes!

Yes, you heard right! Boxes of all shapes & sizes - you can make amazing art out of them!







An art journal made out of cardboard pieces. You'll see more of this & other art/junk journals in a future post so stay tuned!




A cute little diarama of sorts using a book I crystallized in Borax.



This mini library was a labor of love. I incorporated some of 7gypsies' Architextures  - if you've not seen them or used them, you're missing out!





This multi-pack gum box was transformed into a little secret garden!





One of my favorite shadowboxes made from Graphic 45s Olde Curiosity Shoppe collection. So much fun stuff going on in this gem.





This, believe it or not, is made out of a Grape Nut Flakes cereal box!











You can transform anything with some imagination & supplies you have on hand. They make great gifts or home decor pieces. And they can be personalized easily for anyone's taste! So the next time you're heading for the trash with a box in your hand, picture what you could create instead!

7.11.2017

Tips, necessities, other stuff

Probably most of you aren't new to crafting & all the various medias, tools, supplies, etc. But maybe there's one person out there in Blogland, within the sound of my typing, that's just delving in & would appreciate some help. And somehow you landed here. For most of you, there's nothing new under the sun - been, there, done that. This probably isn't for you. And you probably have some to add. LET ME KNOW AND I'LL PUBLISH THEM! Please note: links provided go to A Cherry On Top - I'm not paid by them. Although I should be with the amount of money I spend there every month 😜. It's just to provide visuals - you can find these items multiple places.

1. Baby wipes, baby wipes, baby wipes - these are an indispensable necessity! Helps clean up your work area, hands, stamps, stencils - most anything. And speaking of stencils...

2. If you're like me, you're no Martha Stewart when it comes to cleaning off a stencil right after using it. When I'm in the throes of creating, I don't stop to tidy up. And then pastes, paints, and other gunk builds up. And the baby wipe won't work. Here's what you do: fill a pan or container with warm, sudsy water using regular old dish soap and let them soak. After a couple hours, take a sponge to get your gunk off. I just did a batch of well-loved stencils and got them 98% clean doing this. You wouldn't believe what the water looked like 😝. And be gentle with intricate stencils so you don't rip them!

3. Get yourself a good craft mat. Makes clean up a breeze. If you'd rather not splurge on that, go to the party section of the Dollar Store and buy a plastic table cloth.

4.  For me, must-have adhesives are E6000, matte Mod Podge, & matte gel.

5.  Another nice adhesive is a tape runner. Whether you get a big gun or the little handy size - get some!

6.  A heat tool is another of those things that took me forever to get - I was scared of them. And I wasted alot of time waiting for stuff to dry. They're a must have for me now - and I can emboss, too!

7.  If you emboss, use a pair of tweezers, chop sticks, a vice - you know, something else besides your fingers so you don't get 3rd degree burns.

8.  Glue guns - I have a small one that I actually won like a year ago. And it just sat there because I was scared of it. Then I tried it - and it saved alot of time with some things. Other things, like my domino picture books - not so much. The dominos wouldn't stay together. But it was great for my chenille bump pipe cleaner ornaments. A word of caution:  put something underneath the tip to catch drips. DON'T TOUCH THE TIP WHEN IT'S ON - my index fingers could tell you stories! AND ALWAYS UNPLUG IT!

9.  Save those scraps - paper, cardboard, ribbon/trims, hole punch debris, fabric, junk mail, mismatched game pieces, Happy Meal toys, corks - you name it.  It can all be used on something later. I can't tell you how many times I've gotten up in the morning and hubby has left some unwanted contraption or bits & pieces from something he was fiddling with on the counter with a note: 'I know you can use this somehow'. That just warms my heart....

10.  A paper towel roll is essential. You can roll it over your wet spots to pick up extra ink. The same with baby wipes. AND - *added bonus* - you can dry them out and incorporate them into something else. I've found the most interesting stuff in my trash can after spritzing & spraying & dripping - it's unexpected art. And speaking of spritzing & spraying & dripping....

11.  Cover any areas you don't want spritzed & sprayed & dripped on. Treat your work area like a surgical room - you don't want contamination. I have many bottles & jars & even parts of my arm & exposed leg that can attest to how large the spray zone can get 😃.

12.  If you're embossing or using glitter - and your work space happens to be under the A/C vent - plan accordingly. I've found glitter & embossing powder in my hair for days.

13.  Hit those thrift stores, garage sales, dollar stores, your mom's basement. You can find some really great stuff for all kinds of crafting for real cheap.

14.  Cardboard boxes of varying sizes make great shadow boxes & bases for home decor.

15.  Save your empty plastic containers, like for butter, sour cream, cream cheese, cottage cheese, etc. They make great containers for small items. Pringle cans can store pipe cleaners, skinny paint brushes, glue gun sticks, etc.

16.  Paint brushes - I am the worst as far as knowledge goes. I use sponge brushes. But I have a variety of different regular brushes for stuff like applying mica powder or getting into cramped areas when painting. I'm not an artist so I don't know the ends and outs of the different sizes & what they're used for - Bob Ross I am not. But maybe someone in Blogland can leave me a comment with more details & I'll publish it!

17.  You can use makeup sponges to dab paint through stencils. Just don't mix them up in your makeup bag 😄. Although, maybe for April Fool's Day...

18.  Organization & storage - Ahahaha....that's a good one.


I know there's a lot more I've forgotten or I'll think of something at 3am and make myself a note to update this post. And remember - if you have some info you'd like to share on this post, drop me a comment. Funny anecdotes that go along with it are always welcomed 👌.


7.10.2017

Fun With Borax 101

So, as I posted earlier, here's the Borax post. I know, I know - Borax? In art? Isn't that stuff for laundry? Well, gather around, my friends, and be amazed!

I first came upon Borax a year or so ago. I had seen a pic on the web with crystals & it was about making your own crystals. It was basically a project for kids. Then I saw these amazing crystallized books and thought, 'I've got to do that!' And so I set out experimenting with recipes & techniques. Behold!



This is a doll dress that I crystallized. So sparkly - like Cinderella!



Silverware and jars, even books!







So now let's get to the recipe - it's super simple.  This isn't going to be a step-by-step with pictures tutorial - it's more of a 'Just do as I say because I'm not actually doing it' tutorial.  😁

Supplies

 * Jars, bottles, books, silverware - anything you want to try
 * A deep pan/pot or container, depending on the size of your object
 * 9 tbsp Borax for every 3 cups of water (I got my Borax at Walmart)
 * Dyes or just do clear

Instructions

In a large pot on the stove, mix together your Borax/water and heat on low. You'll have to fill your pot with the mixture according to the size of item(s) you're doing. Stir until the water is clear and the Borax is completely dissolved.  Add your Rit dye or food coloring, if desired.  The more you add, the deeper the color.

There are different ways to do things here.  Sanding your jar or bottle will help the crystals to adhere better. Although, I've done non-sanded bottles and they adhere also BUT they fall off really easily when you touch it so sanding is the way to go.

You can do the 'bob' method where you fill your jar/bottle with water incrementally until it's bobbing in the water.  Or you can completely submerge it or lay it at an angle (with some water inside and/or a weight of some sort on top to keep it that way) for an interesting affect.  For books, you can completely submerge or just stand it up on one end to get partial coverage. You can also try to curl the pages around a skewer to give the pages an interesting affect. For utensils, same thing: completely submerge or prop up against the side.  

For the dress I did, I suspended it inside a water pitcher using string (use a long piece so you can unwind a little when the dress starts to float) attached to a toothpick (which was put inside the top portion of the dress) and wound around a pencil which layed across the opening of the pitcher.  I got the mixture ready with no dye, then poured it into the water pitcher. I had to unwind the string a bit and push the dress down into the water. But the dress wasn't puffing out - it was just straight in the water. So I grabbed a toothpick and inserted it inside to puff the skirt out.  

Let your concoctions sit overnight.  Then pull them out, place on a plate, and let them dry completely.  You'll find that submerged items will stick a little to the bottom but a gentle jiggle lifts them right up.

I've found that plain Borax seemed to adhere better.  I also got a variety of sizes of crystals each time I did it.  It's recommended that you spray it with a gloss sealer of some sort but I've never done that.  I probably should, though, because they are delicate items but mine sit as decoration!  You definitely do not want to make them for kids or constantly handle them.

As you can see from some of my pics of the bottles, I went in afterward and decoupaged paper on to them and distressed them a little.  I even brushed mica powder on the one bottle which gives it an iridescent look.






So now, hit the Goodwill's and get some cheap bottles, jars, silverware, books, and maybe even a pair of cheapy sunglasses to crystallize.  You might become the Andy Warhol of the crystal art world!


Challenge Featured Project on the Canvas Corp Brands Blog!

I was super surprised to see that I was a featured project on the CCB blog - missed the big prize by a hair but I'll get 'em next time!

My project was this mini junk journal I made using dominos for the cover. BTW, I'll be doing a tutorial on how to create a cute domino mini book for Mixed Up Mag in August so stay tuned!










You should head over to CCB's blog and join in the fun!  They have really great products also - their Architextures are to die for!